Why Was Spider-Man at the Vatican? The Incredible Story of the Man Who Met Pope Francis

Pablo Esparza, Vatican Media

This is so cool! 🙌

Pope Francis had an unexpected visitor during his June 23 Wednesday audience in San Damaso Courtyard at the Vatican–a man dressed in a Spider-Man suit!

28-year-old Italy resident Mattia Villardita visits sick children in the hospital dressed as the Marvel character to help “alleviate some of the suffering” of the patients.

He visited with the pope and presented him with a Spider-Man mask.

“I’m Catholic and I’m very happy about this experience,” Villardita said. “[Pope Francis] told me to take a lot of selfies with the kids in the square.”

Here’s the video below:


Villardita’s Story

Villardita told CNA that Pope Francis knows of his “Superheroes in the Ward” mission, where he and some friends volunteer to visit sick children in the hospital dressed up as superheroes.

He said his childhood health problems and undergoing many surgeries inspired him to create this charity. 

“I was a patient for 19 years at the Gaslini Pediatric Hospital in Genoa, because I was born with a congenital malformation,” he said. “That experience has helped me to help these patients and their families.”

Villardita added that he created a video calling service during Italy’s COVID-19 lockdowns. He made more than 1400 personal calls to the hospital before in-person visits resumed in December.

He said shaking hands with Pope Francis and speaking with him about his mission was a “really, really moving experience.”

How beautiful! 🥰  What do you think of Villardita’s mission?

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[See also: 5 Blockbusters that Are Secretly About Religious Discernment]

[See also: St. John Paul II Was a Marvel Comic Book Hero In the ’80s]



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