Jorge Mario Bergoglio attends his first private Mass as Pope Francis in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore on March 14, 2013 in Rome, Italy.
Credit: L'Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis isn’t giving up Twitter for Lent.

And why should he?

His simple tweet on Thursday, to mark his first year leading the Catholic Church, was “favorited” more than 14,000 times and shared 9,200 times in eight hours.

“Please pray for me,” the pontiff wrote on Thursday to his 3.7 million followers.

He delivered similar words from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica after he was elected pope last year.

The Twitter message was the only acknowledgment from Pope Francis, 77, one year into the job.

He left the Vatican on Sunday and is expected to return on Saturday, Agence France-Presse reported.

More from GlobalPost: Everybody loves Francis

Francis took part in a pre-Easter retreat Thursday at the Castelli Romani near the pope’s traditional summer residence outside Rome, AFP said.

“He did not want anything different from usual,” Father Federico Lombardi, the pope’s spokesman, told AFP. “It is his way to be solemn and to insist on prayer.”

To mark his anniversary, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Pope Francis on Thursday to address a joint meeting of Congress.

No pope has ever addressed Congress, USA Today reported.

“His address as a visiting head of state before a joint meeting of the House and Senate would honor our nation in keeping with the best traditions of our democratic institutions,” Boehner said.

“It would also offer an excellent opportunity for the American people as well as the nations of the world to hear his message in full.” 

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