Congratulations and best wishes have poured in from all over the world today for Pope Francis as he celebrates his 50th anniversary as a priest.

“50 years of priesthood and service! 🙂 Thank you @Pontifex!”, tweeted the Archdiocese of Malta, while the English-language Twitter account of the Church in Poland encouraged: “Let us remember the Pope in our prayers”.

“May the example of @Pontifex_es serve as inspiration for all bishops, priests and faithful from all over the world. #50Aniversary #PrayforPopeFrancis #Congratulations”, added the Spanish Bishops’ Conference in another tweet.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria, also sent out a tweet that read: “Dear Pope Francis! Today, on the 50th anniversary of your ordination to priesthood, I wish you together with all Catholics of the Archdiocese of Vienna God’s rich blessing, full of gratitude for your Petrine ministry”.

“From Gibraltar: CONGRATULATIONS Holy Father! Ad multos annos, vivas!”, added the Twitter account of Catholic Gibraltar.

The Diocese of Clogher, in Ireland, extended also in a tweet its “congratulations to Pope Francis @Pontifex as he marks the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest today”.

“We pray that the Lord will continue to inspire him in his ministry”, the Irish diocese added.

Closer to home for the Pope, the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Angelo De Donatis, also had words of thanks for Francis, whom he said “takes us by the hand along the paths of man, ‘making mercy’, with a look of love and tenderness”.

“For you rises to God the prayer of the little ones, of the children of our communities, whom you bless with the affection of the Father”, De Donatis wrote in a message.

“For you rises to the Lord the prayer of the poor, whom you love in a privileged way, as does the prayer of the elderly and the sick, who offer their sufferings for the Church. For you is the prayer of the young, driven by their missionary enthusiasm; and of families, called to live the Joy of Love. For you is the prayer of all of us, ready to carry the Gospel of Joy”.

For his part, the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, thanked Pope Francis for his “testimony, teachings, words and gestures”.

Bassetti also expressed gratitude for the Pope’s “spiritual paternity” and for his being the “Pastor of a Church that approaches, is close to the vicissitudes of people, incarnates itself in their history, kneels down, bandages sores and heals wounds”.

“On this happy occasion of your fiftieth anniversary of priesthood, on behalf of all your cardinal brothers, I wish you all the best, with the most sincere thanks for your generous daily service to the Holy Church of God”, added in a message to Francis the Dean of the College of Cardinals in the Vatican, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.