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Italian journalist says new pope called her first


Just hours after his dramatic election as leader of the Catholic world, an Italian journalist in Rome said the first thing Pope Francis did was to call her up for a friendly chat.

"The phone rang... My son picked it up and it was the pope," Stefania Falasca, a former editor for a Catholic monthly, told Italian media.

"At home we just called him 'father', we never called him 'eminence'. I didn't know what to say. I asked him 'Father, what am I meant to call you? Holy Father?'" she said.

"He laughed and he told me 'The first phone call I wanted to make was to say hello to you, Gianni and the kids,'" she said.

Falasca is married to Gianni Valente, who is also a journalist, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Francis, formerly archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has already made his mark in Rome with his informal style.