Pope Francis with this supportive spider man (Photo: Massimo Valicchia / NurPhoto via .)
Pope Francis has received many personalities, but this Wednesday was particularly unexpected. In the courtyard of San Dámaso, and before a surprised audience, the pontiff has met Spiderman. This is not a promotional event or anything like that. Under the mask of Spider-Man hides Mattia Villardita, a 27-year-old volunteer known in Italy for going to hospitals to cheer up sick children.
According to the Vatican News portal, Villardita has made an appearance in the iconic square and has approached Pope Francis with the aim of chatting with him and giving him a gift. “I wanted to donate my Spiderman mask to the holy father for a symbolic value, because I see the suffering of children and families every day through the mask of my disguise,” he explained in an interview collected by this specialized outlet in El Vatican.
The true superheroes are the children and their families that I meet in the pavilions where they all fight their own battleMattia Villardita, the solidarity Spiderman of Italy
With no more superpower than his altruism, Mattia has been drawing smiles from little patients for 4 years, a gesture that has led him to receive the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, from the hands of President Sergio Matarella. “I’m just a boy with a nice costume,” has assured this particular Spiderman. “The real superheroes are the children and their families that I meet in the pavilions where everyone fights their own battle every day,” added Mattia Villardita.
The center of attention
After patiently waiting for his turn to be blessed – yes, making video calls with children admitted to medical centers – the Italian Spiderman has revealed what the pontiff told him, after shaking his hand. “He asked me if he could go take some photos with the children pr …
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.