A BISHOP showed his fun side when he was mistaken for the new Pope during a visit to a South Tyneside school.
The Right Reverend Seamus Cunningham, from the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, spent the morning at St Gregory’s RC Primary School in Harton House Road East, South Shields, shortly after Pope Francis was elected.
Headteacher Ken Smithson said: “Bishop Cunningham was a really good sport. He let the kids try his hat on and hold his crozier, and generally made it a very cheerful, uplifting visit.
“By sheer coincidence, he came within 24 hours of the new Pope being announced, which the children were aware of.
“Some of the kids thought he was the Pope when he turned up with his mitre and crozier and all his robes.”
Bishop Cunningham was the first Bishop to visit the school in 13 years.
He led a mass, to which parents, grandparents and members of the community were invited, before touring classrooms and speaking to staff and pupils.
Mr Smithson added: “It was a very busy morning. He certainly didn’t stand still.”