A few days after he stepped onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in March 2013 as the 266th pope, Pope Francis reactivated @Pontifex, the papal Twitter account that Pope Benedict launched a few months before he resigned the papacy.

Pope Benedict launched his Twitter account to more than 1 million followers in December 2012, but by October 2013 – seven months into his papacy – Pope Francis had hit 10 million Twitter followers across the nine language accounts.

His English language account currently has 3.73 million followers.

According to a July 2013 study, “Twiplomacy,” reported on by Catholic News Service, Pope Francis is the most influential world leader on Twitter, with the highest number of retweets worldwide. The study also noted he is the second most-followed leader of the world, running behind U.S. President Barack Obama.

The pope tweets several times a week and each message is short, to-the-point at 140 characters or less, per Twitter guidelines.
Beginning with this issue, the Catholic Herald will bring to you, our readers, Pope Francis’ teachings via his Twitter account.