In what seemed like a scene out of an alternate universe, superhero Spiderman was photographed shaking the hands of Pope Francis during one of His Holiness’ rounds with the Vatican audience
Mattia Villadirta, 28, has been an impersonator of superhero characters over the past three years. Aside from his job at APM Terminals Vado Ligure in Italy, his alter ego has a passion for visiting and cheering up sick children in nearby hospitals.
Villadirta’s presence amazed people as he sat in the VIP section of the audience in the Vatican’s San Damaso Courtyard, fully dressed in a Spiderman costume. After the sermon, Villadirta immediately approached and presented Pope Francis a face mask with a Spiderman design.
Sat among the faithful, a person dressed in the famous red and blue costume was seen listening intently to the pontiff’s message.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 23, 2021
The Pope met with the superhero Spiderman at the end of his weekly general audience.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 24, 2021
According to AP TV, Villadirta told them that the spare mask is “a sign, to tell him that through these eyes I daily see pain from sick children in hospitals.”
“It was very exciting because Pope Francis immediately understood my mission,” Villadirta told AP TV.
Villadirta’s initiative has been called “Superheroes of the Ward.’ When asked by Fox News what led him to this, he said his own experience of having been born with congenital malformation and after undergoing surgeries urged him to help and comfort the sick.
On Twitter, People shared positive comments about the viral photo.
The most ambitious crossover event in history … again. https://t.co/ORiyhJqamW
— David Gibson (@GibsonWrites) June 23, 2021
Two SUPER Heroes for sure!! https://t.co/oZEaPS9b95
— Sister Clare Bass (@SisterClareB) June 24, 2021
Love these two. https://t.co/D60xpl9z89
— Ben Phillips (@benphillips76) June 23, 2021
“There is a superhero in all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape.” https://t.co/Pp6ga11Xbi
— Martin Speer (@martin_speer) June 23, 2021
Meanwhile, he also emphasized in the Vatican News that “the real superheroes are the children who are suffering and their families who are fighting with so much hope.”
The Vatican described Villardita as ‘really a good superhero.’ Amid the pandemic, Mattia Villadirta continues to organize more than 1,400 video calls for children to talk to their favorite superheroes.
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