Part of the appeal and notoriety that Pope Francis gained during the first two years of his pontificate came from his penchant for using his cellphone to call people out of the blue, from a struggling single mother to his cobbler back in Argentina to an ostracized bishop, and even the odd journalist.
Yet for a while it seemed the “cold-call” pope had gone into hibernation.
Now, a letter from an Italian boy who wrote the pope because he was worried about his ailing aunt has prompted another surprise papal phone call a few days before Christmas. As it turned out, the boy wasn’t home at the time, so Francis chatted with his mother for 15 minutes, assuring her of his prayers for the aunt.
“It was the most beautiful Christmas present that we have received in this difficult moment,” said the parents, who declined to be identified.
Instead, they told the priest of their parish in Calabria, in southern Italy, who relayed the news of the pope’s call at Mass on Christmas Eve and then posted it on the Facebook page of St. Nicholas of Bari in the town of Mendicino.
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