updated 02/27/2014 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 02/27/2014 AT 10:00 AM ET
Daniele De Sanctis, 19 months, made a star turn Wednesday as he showed off this year’s must-have Carnival costume at the pope’s general audience: White cassock and cape, white skullcap and even a miniature pectoral cross.
Daniele wailed as he was hoisted up to receive a papal kiss as Francis drove by. But he seemed perfectly happy romping through the closed-off sections of St. Peter’s Square, with his papal outfit getting him VIP treatment from the Swiss Guards.
His mother, Paola Ciabattini, said one of Daniele’s grandmothers had made the costume, inspired after the boy used a hand towel as a cape after washing his hands.
“It was a gesture of love toward the Holy Father,” Ciabattini told the Associated Press. “We certainly didn’t intend to make fun of him or the church in any way.”
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