Straight outta Colombia: nun raps for pope

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Rafaela, a fellow nun of Maria Valentina de los Angeles, of the “Comunicadoras Eucaristicas del Padre Celestial” (Eucharistic Communicators of the Celestial Father) congregation, makes an internet radio program at a convent in the outskirts of Cali, Colombia, on July 17, 2017. Nun Maria Valentina de los Angeles –who wears tennis shoes, raps and already participated in a reality show- will see her dream of singing to Pope Francis come true during his visit to Colombia. - TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY RODRIGO ALMONACID / AFP / Luis ROBAYO / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY RODRIGO ALMONACID
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Nun Maria Valentina de los Angeles (C), of the “Comunicadoras Eucaristicas del Padre Celestial” (Eucharistic Communicators of the Celestial Father) congregation, plays the guitar and sings alongside fellow nuns at a convent in the outskirts of Cali, Colombia, on July 17, 2017. Nun Maria Valentina de los Angeles –who wears tennis shoes, raps and already participated in a reality show- will see her dream of singing to Pope Francis come true during his visit to Colombia. - TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY RODRIGO ALMONACID / AFP / Luis ROBAYO / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY RODRIGO ALMONACID
Updated 04 September 2017

Straight outta Colombia: nun raps for pope

CALI, Colombia: A Colombian nun-turned-rapper in sports sneakers will perform for Pope Francis when he visits her country this week.
Maria Valentina de los Angeles is one of a group who will sing the official song for the Argentine pontiff’s visit as he greets the crowds.
It is “an opportunity to show him our love the way that we know, which is through music,” Maria Valentina, 28, told AFP.
“The cool thing about rap is that it sticks in your head easily. And when it has the depth of truth, which is Christ, then it is even more striking.”
The petite nun, 28, performs a rap interlude among the cheerful Latin beats of the song “Let’s Take The First Step” by the United Catholic Musicians.
The ensemble headhunted her after she won a reality-show competition on television called “Another Level.”
The United Catholic Musicians hailed the naturalness of her rapping and invited her to compose and perform the rap interlude.
Francis visits Colombia, a Catholic country of 47 million, from September 6 to 10.
He is credited with aiding a peace deal signed last year between the Colombian government and the leftist FARC rebel force after half a century of war.
“Colombia welcomes you with open arms,” goes Maria Valentina’s rap.
“With one voice happily we say to you: blessed be God, who in his wisdom has brought you to our land to be its guide.”
The nun says she likes the rebellious spirit of rap. For her, it chimes with Francis’s own call to the young to “make trouble” — his way of telling them to fearlessly share their faith.
“Trouble in the way the holy father means it is being different, being bold and bringing a message of joy, hope and charity,” she told AFP in the western city of Cali, where she is based.
“Our intention beyond just thanking the holy father is to act as a church so that all people can sing with us.”
Maria Valentina is a member of the Community of Eucharistic Communicators of the Heavenly Father in Cali.
The group was formed in response to a call from the late Pope Jean Paul II for artists to use their work as a means of spreading the gospel.
Its members include a television producer and a musical group including Maria Valentina, which has made two records.
“God wants to be known through the media,” she says. “He has to make himself known by way of current trends.”
Maria Valentina also strums the ukelele and played rock guitar in her youth.
She says God saved her from a serious liver disease when she was a youngster.
“My dream is to be a good nun. Making music is a second dream,” she says.
“I want to make more recordings, but more than making people fall in love with my voice, I want to make them fall in with Jesus.”


Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

Updated 19 August 2019

Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

  • Then Russian Navy Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko wrote the letter when he was a 36-year-old aboard the Sulak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A man discovered a 50-year-old letter in a bottle from the Russian Navy on the shores of western Alaska.
Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter early this month while gathering firewood near Shishmaref about 600 miles (966 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff said. “When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out.”
Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting from a Cold War Russian sailor dated June 20, 1969. The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.
Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.
He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.
“There — exactly!” he exclaimed.
The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said. Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.
Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife’s protests.
Ivanoff’s discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.