Wednesday, November 24, 1999

Calling cards come with picture of Pope, prayers

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It's a prayer card. It's a calling card. It's The Vatican Card — a prepaid calling card with images of Pope John Paul II and brief prayers, along with the papal seal and the pope's signature.

        The cards are part of the Vatican's Jubilee 2000 celebration, a fund-raising draw and a collector's item all wrapped into one. Siesta Telecom, Inc. began selling the $15 cards through Catholic parishes and schools last month.

        Vatican officials came up with the idea as a way to promote communications between families and reinforce the pope's desire to reach out to the global community. After deciding to feature his image on the cards, designers added a personal message from the pope.

        Siesta Telecom, based in Sarasota, Fla., was chosen to distribute and market the cards. The two-year agreement calls for eight different images and prayers.

        In addition to raising funds for the organizations that sell them, the papal calling cards will benefit the Vatican's Forum on the Family, which promotes family strength. One dollar from each card goes to the forum.

        For more information, call Siesta at (800) 720-5114.


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