A Massachusetts woman said she received a phone message from the Vatican on Friday offering condolences over the death of her 25-year-old son.
Stephany Nicolo said she called Pope Francis in the days following her son’s sudden death on May 14 from an epileptic seizure.
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"I was very, very upset and I said, 'I don’t believe in God anymore,'" Nicolo told Fox News
. "Why would he take my son?"
She left her name and number with a Vatican representative but didn’t expect to hear back.
On Friday morning she awoke to a find voice message on her cell phone from someone identifying himself as a representative from the Vatican and saying the Pope sends a "big hug and a blessing."
Nicolo believes a voice in the background of the message is that of the Pope. The Vatican couldn’t immediately confirm her belief.
"I want him to know I love him," Nicolo said of Pope Francis, according to Fox News. "He has helped me so much in my time of grief. There are no words to describe what this phone call has done for me."
Pope Francis sparked controversy earlier this year for private phone calls
to ordinary Catholics. The Vatican scrambled to downplay the calls after the Pope reportedly told a divorced and remarried woman that she should be allowed to take Holy Communion.
The pope also called an Italian man who had written a letter about his brother's shooting death
, among others.
Pope Francis also has raised eyebrows over his comments about homosexuality, asking “Who am I to judge?”
and for ditching his bullet-proof Popemobile.
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The Pope’s reputation for humility and accessibility is widespread.
Father Ronald Barker, Nicolo’s pastor at St. Joseph's Parish in Wakefield, Massachusets, said the message touched him.
"It said so much to me about the Pope," he told Fox News. "He really thinks about simple things like this."
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