Updated: Jan 25 at 12:22 pm

January 25, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI took to Twitter this morning to express his support for Americans marching in the March for Life today. 

"I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life," the Pope tweeted.

Pope Benedict joined Twitter in December, and already boasts nearly 1.5 million followers in English alone. His accounts in other languages boast hundreds of thousands of additional followers.

In a letter specially prepared for the March for Life, and read by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Vigano at the DC Archdiocese’s Youth Rally, the pope sent “warm greetings and the assurance of his closeness and prayer to the thousands of young people from throughout America gathered for the annual March for Life."

The pope said he is, “grateful to all those who take part in this outstanding public witness to the fundamental human right of life and to the many others who support them by fasting and praying.”

“Thanks the young people for their commitment to defending the …dignity of each member of our family, especially the smallest and most defenseless of our brothers and sisters,” concluded the pope, who said he cordially imparts his apostolic blessing.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to converge on the Mall in Washington D.C. for the March for Life this afternoon. This March marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.

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Another top official at the Vatican also threw his weight behind the March for Life this week. The head of the Pontifical Academy for Life described the pro-life marches and events being held across the US this week as a witness "to the whole world." 

“These events which favor human life without limits, from conception until the end, have become a very important historical reference for all other Catholic countries worldwide,” Bishop Ignacio de Paula said.