Wednesday was just another normal day at the Vatican for the head of the Catholic Church, with the exception of a superhero guest swinging into town.
No, it's not a scene from a Marvel movie (I don't think even Disney has the budget for a papal cameo). Instead, this was the scene in Vatican City as a man dressed as Spider-Man made an appearance and got to meet Pope Francis.
The 84-year-old pontiff was gifted with his very own Spider-Man mask by Mattia Villardita, the man under the costume who has spent the past three years dressing as a superhero to visit Italy’s sick children in hospitals, according to Reuters.
Villardita, 27, had to sit among VIP attendees for the pope’s general audience dressed in full superhero attire and completely blended in.
Do you ever wonder what Spider-Man's favorite hymn might be?
Don't act all shy now, Spidey. You showed up to the Vatican in a bodysuit.
After his encounter with the Pope, Villardita told Catholic News Agency that the experience made him “very happy” as a Catholic and shared that the pope had told him to “take a lot of selfies with the kids in the square.”
Villardita was honored by Italian President Sergio Mattarella in December for his work as an everyday hero.
Villardita shared that he felt an urge to be a symbol of hope for young people in hospitals and so he began dressing like his childhood hero.
“When you’re in a hospital, you see the world through a different lens and appreciate small things in life," he told local news. "Many people don’t realize how lucky they really are. So I felt this inner urge to do something, a mission almost."