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Pope Francis Meets His 'Mini-Me' as Carnival Starts

<p>Pope Francis kisses a boy dressed as a pope as he arrives for his general audience at the Vatican as Carnival Season begins.</p>
Image: Pope Francis' General Audience
A handout picture provided by the Vatican Newspaper L'Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis kissing a child dressed as Pope as he arrives in Saint Peter's Square to lead his Wednesday's General Audience, in Vatican City, on Feb. 26. OSSERVATORE ROMANO via EPA

Pope Francis kisses 19-month-old Daniele De Sanctis, who showed up at the pontiff’s general audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday dressed in a pope costume of his own.

De Sanctis was hoisted up to Francis as he drove by in his open-topped jeep. Another child dressed in a similar white cassock and white skullcap was also on hand, as were kids dressed as Swiss Guards.

During Carnival in Italy, children often go to school and spend their weekends dressed up in pirate, princess — and now pope — costumes. Carnival, also known as mardi gras, marks the period before the church's solemn Lenten season begins.

--Associated Press