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Why was Spider-Man at Pope Francis’ general audience?

People attending Pope Francis’ weekly audience on Wednesday, and those following via livestream, were surprised to see sitting among the crowd a man dressed head-to-toe in tight red and blue garb decorated with a silver web.

Why was Spider-Man at the Vatican?

The man inside the costume is Mattia Villardita, a 28-year-old Italian who dresses up as the comic-book character to visit sick children in hospitals across the country.

“I try to alleviate some of the suffering of hospital patients,” he told CNA.

Villardita was at the June 23 general audience, held inside San Damaso Courtyard, to meet Pope Francis and to give him his very own Spider-Man mask.

“I’m Catholic and I’m very happy about this experience,” Villardita said 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.

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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