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Out of the blue, pope dials strangers

VATICAN CITY — A word of warning to those who write personal notes to Pope Francis: He might just call you back.

A handful of strangers have received papal phone calls out of the blue after writing him or suffering some personal tragedy.

After another random phone call from the pope this week, Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper offered etiquette tips for the lucky recipients, proposing conversation starters and no-go areas on its front page Friday.

Topping the list: Be ready, especially if the landline rings.

The 76-year-old Francis has a fondness for making calls the old-fashioned way, using landlines and placing the calls himself, often surprising recipients by simply announcing "It's the pope."

Francis has called an Italian man whose brother was killed and a Colombian woman who works in Rome to thank her for a book.

The recipient of this week's call, 19-year-old student Stefano Cabizza, said he received the call after leaving a letter for Francis following his Mass at Castel Gandolfo on Aug. 15. He declined to say what he had written.

Out of the blue, pope dials strangers 08/23/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 24, 2013 1:17am]

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