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Spider-Man drops in on Pope Francis

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Pope Francis' Wednesday audience had a special guest in the crowd.

Pope Francis received a special guest during his weekly audience on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

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[Picture by Vatican Media]

[Picture by Vatican Media]

Highlights

By Abigail James
6/23/2021 (1 month ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Spider-Man, superhero, hero, Pope Franics

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many in attendance, or viewing via the livestream, were surprised to see none other than, Spider-Man sitting in the audience.

Twenty-eight-year-old Mattia Villardita, the man behind the red and blue mask, stopped by to say hello to the pope and present him with his very own Spider-Man mask. He wears the comic-book costume and visits sick children in hospitals all across Italy. 

"I'm Catholic and I'm very happy about this experience," Villardita told CNA afterward, noting that Pope Francis already knew who he was and about his "mission."

"He told me to take a lot of selfies with the kids in the square," he said.

Last year, Villardita received a special honor for his "heroic" actions when he was made a Cavalier of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by the Italian President.

Villardita explained to CNA that he uses his own personal experience as a patient for 19 years at the Gaslini Pediatric Hospital in Genoa, Italy for a congenital malformation to help the current patients and their families. 

Just two years ago, he launched his project, "Superheroes in the Ward," with the help of some friends who also dress up as popular characters.

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