12/12/2012 AT 04:05 PM EST
The Vatican just got considerably more social media savvy.
Pope Benedict XVI sent out his first Tweet on Wednesday using the handle @Pontifex
(loosely translated from Latin to mean "bridge builder").
"Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter," he wrote. "Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."
The pontiff sent the first Tweet himself on an iPad in front of a public audience in the Vatican. He will not send out every Tweet personally, but his new form of outreach is still sure to connect Catholics across the globe.
"Offer everything you do to the Lord, ask his help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that he is always beside you," he later Tweeted.