VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Though not as fast as a speeding bullet, “Superpope” will fly across the world, gathering autographs of sports stars and eventually be auctioned to raise money for the pope’s Peter’s Pence charity.
The initiative kicked off Feb. 8 at a Vatican news conference with the unveiling of a simple medium-sized yellow T-shirt graced with the iconic “Superpope” image: Pope Francis, fist extended, flying through the air, holding his black bag packed with Christian “values” and a scarf representing his hometown San Lorenzo soccer team.
The first superstar who signed the tee was recently retired Roma soccer legend, Francesco Totti, who even added his old team number “10” to the signature.
Next in line for the shirt signing “relay” around the world will be soccer star Diego Maradona, followed by world champion motorcyclist Marc Marquez and many more, including top female athletes, said Msgr. Dario Vigano, prefect of the Secretariat for Communication.
The plan is to get as many famous signatures as possible before it goes on auction, possibly by “the end of the summer,” said Christian Fasulo, CEO of the Polk&Union agency, which is running the marketing campaign.
The artist, Mauro Pallotta, who signs his work, “Maupal,” paints his removable street art onto paper he then glues with a water-based adhesive to walls around Rome.
A classically trained painter, Pallotta has depicted the pope several times and his images have gone viral. Pallotta received permission from the Vatican to use his “Superpope” image. The artist launched an #OrdinaryHeroes movement online in October 2017 with the help of a local entrepreneur.
The superpope.it site sells T-shirts with the “Superpope” image for 19 euros (about $23) so people can show their support for the message and show solidarity with others since part of the profit (about one euro per shirt) goes to the papal Peter’s Pence charity. But the full 100 percent of the proceeds from the autographed T-shirt sold at auction will go to Peter’s Pence.