Pope Benedict XVI departed the Vatican shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday en route to his retirement at the Castel Gandolfo.
As he took a short ride from the papal apartments to a waiting helicopter, he--or someone on the staff--sent out one final tweet from the @Pontifex account.
"Thank you for your love and support," he tweeted. "May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives."
Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) February 28, 2013
It had been retweeted nearly 10,000 times in less than 15 minutes.
PHOTO: The helicopter that will take Pope Benedict XVI away as he leaves the Vatican for the last time as pope twitter.com/CBSThisMorning…— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 28, 2013
Photo: Pope Benedict XVI in the papal helicopter (Vatican TV) - twitter.com/TheMatthewKeys…— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) February 28, 2013