24 June 2021
When Pope Francis meets with followers on Wednesdays, he is usually the most notable person at the gathering.
However, on a recent Wednesday, the Roman Catholic leader played second to another man. That man, Matteo Villardita, was made up to look like the famous Marvel Comic Book creation, Spider-Man.
He came to the public gathering to speak to the pope.
The 28-year-old Villardita appears as Spider-Man to cheer the sick children he visits in hospitals. He said he was going to see children later that Wednesday at Vatican City's hospital for children.
Villardita spoke with Pope Francis, asking him to pray for the sick children and their families. He also gave the pope an extra Spider-Man mask.
Wearing his costume, Villardita took photos with children in an open outdoor space inside the Roman Catholic Church headquarters.
The Vatican called Villardita "a really good superhero" and noted his good work during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Villardita reportedly made 1,400 video calls to children in hospitals over the last year while Italy was under COVID-19 restrictions. He said it was exciting to meet the pope who, in Villardita's words, "immediately understood my mission."
I'm Caty Weaver.
Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on an Associated Press report. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
costume –n. the clothes that are worn by someone (such as an actor) who is trying to look like a different person or thing
mask –n. a covering used to hide or disguise your face
mission –n. a task or job that someone is given to do