If each of the outings of Pope Francis is very noticed, the latest was even more. While giving his traditional general audience on Wednesday, he then went to meet the privileged few who were waiting. Nothing unusual so far, but that’s when things got weird: the Pope was seen shaking hands with Marvel’s famous superhero Spider-Man.
If it is indeed not trivial, this story has an explanation: the man in the suit is in fact Mattia Villardita, a 28-year-old Italian. Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, explains that Mattia has been volunteering in hospitals for years, he goes to meet sick children and tries to make them smile again. A sick himself when he was younger, he spent a lot of time in the hospital and therefore decided to don this costume two years ago. This dedication earned him the honor of being decorated by Italian President Sergio Mattarella at the start of the year and therefore received by the Pope.
The Pope received a Spider-Man mask
Despite the stifling heat in Rome, Mattia Villardita waited a long time with her costume and even lent herself to the game by posing for children and photographers. The young man, an employee of a port in northeastern Italy, plays sports regularly to do justice to the character he embodies. The discussion he had with the Pope has not been revealed, but Italian newspapers explain that he gave him one of his old masks, which he no longer uses. On that day, Pope Francis also had a word for the elderly, whose lives are made very difficult by the pandemic. the Vatican News site reports his words: “The pandemic has been an unexpected and furious storm, a hard test that has befallen everyone’s lives, but which has reserved special treatment, even harsher treatment for us , the elderly. Many of us have fallen ill; many have lost their lives or have seen their partners or loved ones die; still others have been forced into solitude for a very long time, isolated. “
Pope Francis © Zuma Press