Pope Francis has no special plans to mark his first anniversary as pontiff on Thursday, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

The pope is on a Lenten retreat that started on Sunday with members of the Curia in Ariccia, near Rome, the Vatican spokesman said.

The 77-year-old Francis, who was elected the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13, 2013, broke his silence with a Twitter post asking the faithful to pray for him.

Francis remains extremely popular, especially in his native Argentina, where poll results released Thursday show that 93 percent of respondents have a positive view of the pontiff.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires - who was born on Dec. 17, 1936, in that city to Italian immigrants - succeeded Pope Benedict XVI.

Benedict XVI resigned in February 2013, citing age and declining health. EFE