A month after becoming the 266th Pontiff of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis is receiving a slightly more dubious honor: he’s being immortalized in thousands of plastic masks in honor of his visit to Brazil this summer for World Youth Day.
The 76-year-old Argentine will be the guest of honor at the week-long event, scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro in July. The masks’ creator hopes that hundreds of young Catholics will wear the latex likeness in tribute to the first pontiff to hail from South America.
The mask is the latest in a long line of celebrity faces to be produced by local firm Condal. “He’s a very charismatic Pope, very humble, he’s a lot closer to the people, a person well-adapted to the current world and society,” said Condal’s commercial director Albert Paris, according to ITN.
And Pope Francis seems eager to return to Latin America in the summer. “I am looking forward to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I hope to see all of you in that great Brazilian city!” he wrote on Twitter in March.
World Youth Day was founded in 1985 and takes place at a different location around the world every two to three years. This year’s event has already drawn controversy after some Rio slums were cleared of their residents in the months before the event — reportedly for security reasons — despite the fact that Pope Francis is renowned for his work with the poor in his native Buenos Aires, reports Sky News.