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2nd Prd 15:20

Pope reaches out by telephone

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has charmed the masses with his informal style, simplicity, and sense of humor — and a handful of strangers have gotten the treatment up close, receiving papal phone calls out of the blue after writing him or suffering some personal tragedy.

Francis, 76, 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.’’

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After his election in March, Francis reportedly called his newspaper stand in Buenos Aires to cancel his daily delivery, and the receptionist at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome thought he got a crank call when Francis phoned two days after being chosen pope looking for the Jesuit superior.

Francis has since called an Italian man whose brother was killed, a Colombian woman who works in Rome to thank her for a book, and a teen who left the pope a letter after Mass on Aug. 15.

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