Established under Pope Benedict XVI and assumed by Pope Francis in March of this year after his induction, @Pontifex has become a place where Pope Francis prays for and with the faithful.
In direct response to the crisis in Syria, however, @Pontifex has taken a somewhat different tack, responding quickly to a breaking news story and calling for followers to do the same.
After news of the use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians spread, Pope Francis launched a condemnation on Twitter in real time, upending the traditional Papal comfort zone.
War never again! Never again war!— Pope Francis ( @Pontifex) September 2, 2013
With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons.— Pope Francis ( @Pontifex) September 3, 2013
Using #prayforpeace, the Pope issued a rallying call to his worldwide followers.
Let the cry for peace ring out in all the world!#prayforpeace— Pope Francis ( @Pontifex) September 4, 2013
With all my strength, I ask each party in the conflict not to close themselves in solely on their own interests. #prayforpeace— Pope Francis ( @Pontifex) September 5, 2013
To date, the #prayforpeace has been used over 260,000 times — surpassing mentions of the Pope himself in the past week, and taking on a life of its own in many different languages.
Though the Pope rarely tweets more than once daily, he has recently posted as often as three times a day, with eight uses of #prayforpeace in just one week. The Pope’s response to the situation in Syria has sparked awareness among Catholics around the world and become part of a global vigil for peace.
#prayforpeace Pope Francis’ homily during peace vigil: War is a defeat for humankind http://t.co/2n99nINwM4— VaticanInsider ( @VaticanInsider) September 7, 2013
Today, Pope Francis is hosting a five-hour prayer vigil for peace in Syria | http://t.co/sak653nNGO (via @TIMEPolitics)— TIME.com ( @TIME) September 7, 2013
Have you seen innovative uses of Twitter? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.