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
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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.”


Avengers assemble for final battle in ‘Endgame’

Updated 24 April 2019
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Avengers assemble for final battle in ‘Endgame’

  • “Avengers: Endgame” is the final installment of a wildly ambitious 22-film arc featuring the beloved superheroes of the Marvel universe
  • Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar opening in history

LOS ANGELES: After nearly two dozen films and billions of dollars in ticket sales around the globe, the Avengers are gearing up for a final time — and their last adventure could shatter all box office records.
“Avengers: Endgame” is the final installment of a wildly ambitious 22-film arc featuring the beloved superheroes of the Marvel universe, many of them the creations of late comic book legend Stan Lee.
It hits theaters this week — parts of Asia and Europe get the first view of the three-hour epic on Wednesday, and it gets its wide release in the US and Canada on Friday. Pundits are predicting a debut weekend that could break records with the first billion-dollar opening in history.
That would easily beat out the previous record holder, “Avengers: Infinity War,” the first part of the “Infinity Saga” — as it was dubbed by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who has produced every single movie in the franchise — which opened in 2018 with $640.5 million.
After Monday’s star-studded world premiere in Hollywood, the six original Avengers celebrated the end of the road Tuesday at the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) assembled for a final time with Feige at the TCL Chinese Theatre, where they signed blocks of cement and marked them with handprints.
“It’s been an amazing ride,” Ruffalo — who attempted a handstand while waiting for the cement to set — said of the 10-year project.
The 21 preceding films have earned about $19 billion globally, and though “Endgame” marks the end of the current narrative arc, Marvel Studios is far from through.

Even as they mark the end of what Johansson called a “wonderful” experience, Marvel Studios has already announced several new projects: in addition to sequels for “Spider-Man,” “Black Panther” and “Doctor Strange,” there will also be “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” “The Eternals” and “Black Widow,” the second Marvel universe film to give a female character solo top billing.
“The fun thing about an ending is that you eventually get to do a new beginning,” Feige told AFP.
“So yes, there will be a new beginning, but right now, it’s about this combination of 22 movies. That’s what we’re most excited for.”
In preparation for the marvelous cinematic conclusion, “Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo took to Twitter to post a letter to “the greatest fans in the world.”
“This is it,” they wrote. “This is the end. The end of an unprecedented narrative mosaic spanning eleven years and eleven franchises.”
They acknowledged the massive impact that the Avengers series has had on its fans, saying it was for “all of you who have been on this journey with us since the very beginning.”
Fans have been on the edge of their seats for the conclusion, and the cast has been notoriously tight-lipped during the press tour for fear of potential spoilers.
But someone couldn’t wait: on Sunday, five minutes of “Endgame” footage containing crucial plot points from the finale were anonymously posted online, prompting the Russo brothers’ letter.
The brothers concluded their message with an appeal: not to spoil the end of the movie.
“Remember,” the Russo brothers said, “Thanos still demands your silence. #DontSpoilTheEndgame.”