An Italian man who has struggled to forgive God after the murder of his brother recently received a personal phone call from Pope Francis, who offered him words of comfort.
Michele Ferri was devastated when his brother, who owned several gas stations in the city of Pesaro in northern Italy, was shot and killed by two employees last June. The employees are now serving prison sentences.
Overcome with grief and frustration, Ferri had written a letter to Pope Francis, but never thought that he would receive a personal response.
On Aug. 7, however, Ferri “got an unexpected call,” according to the newspaper Il Messagero. After saying “Hello,” he heard the response, “Hi Michele, It's Pope Francis.”
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime feeling,” Ferri said on his Facebook page.
After his brother’s death, he had written on his Facebook page, “The more time that passes, the more the sorrow grows.”
One month later he wrote, “I have always forgiven you for everything God, but not this time, this time I won't forgive you.”
It was around that time that the 51 year-old Ferri wrote a letter to the Holy Father.
He was shocked last week to receive a phone call from Pope Francis, and initially thought it was a prank. However, his disbelief turned into excitement as the caller began referencing the contents of the private letter, which no one else would have known.
Father Mario Amadeo, the pastor at Ferri's parish, said the Pope's phone call was “a very beautiful act that testifies to the kindness and greatness of this Pontiff.”
Originally published at Catholic News Agency on 12 August 2013. Used with permission. All rights reserved.