Pope marks anniversary: “Please pray for me.”

Pope Francis
Pope Francis (AP Photo/Andreas Solaro)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis marked his one-year anniversary Thursday with a simple tweet: “Please pray for me.”

Francis’ appeal echoed his gesture on that rainy night one year ago when he came out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica and introduced himself to the world. Rather than impart a blessing on the crowd below, Francis asked first for a “favor,” asking the crowd to bless him.

Francis has continued to ask for prayers, ending nearly each appearance with a similar request.

Francis spent his anniversary tucked away on retreat south of Rome with senior Vatican cardinals and monsignors. The Vatican said nothing special was planned, just prayer and meditations.

But in his hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentines were celebrating, particularly the poor who live in the “misery villages” of the capital where the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio ministered as archbishop. In the Villa 1-11-14 slum, a huge screen was set up for residents to watch an interview Francis gave recently to FM Bajo Flores, a community radio station that broadcasts from the slum.

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