Pope Benedict XVI has joined Twitter, sending his first tweet Tuesday.

"Dear Friends, I just launched News.va Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI," he wrote to launch his Twitter service to the faithful.

The Vatican is beginning a bid for young hearts and minds with a new website  and a thrust into social media, including Twitter updates, YouTube videos, Flickr photos and Facebook links on news.va.

A video posted on YouTube shows the 84-year-old Pope tapping his first Twitter message onto an iPad, while a cardinal helps him navigate the new website.

The site features the Vatican colours — white and yellow — and brings together information from the Vatican's radio, television and print outlets as well as news from the developing world from the Fides missionary news agency.

A tweet posted Wednesday directs readers to the Pope's homily for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. So far, the pontiff has more than 41,000 Twitter followers.

The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications directed the site's launch with the help of Madrid-based digital media company 101, which designed and developed the site.

The site's launch comes as the Pope celebrates the 60th anniversary of his ordination into priesthood.