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'Mirando al Cielo': Rapper Communion Joins 14-Day Devotional Leading to Fathom Film About Teen Martyr/Saint

,, | April 4, 2023 | By

A teenage saint inspires a film -- and bolsters the faith of a rapper.

Born March 28, 1913, in Mexico, Saint José Sánchez del Río died on Feb. 10, 1928, at the age of 14. A flag-carrier in the Cristero War, battling anti-Catholic persecution in his homeland, he was tortured and executed by Mexican officials for refusing to renounce his faith.

Meet San José in Mirando al Cielo

On April 18, Fathom Events releases Mirando al Cielo (Looking at Heaven), a 2021 Spanish-language film, produced in Mexico, chronicling Sánchez del Río's short life and martyrdom.


Starting today, April 4, leading up to the release, is a 14-day devotional featuring a wide variety of notable Catholic figures.

Mirando al Cielo Devotional

Familiar (and FTP) Faces Join the Devotional

Included in the 14 days are FTP's own National Director, Father David Guffey, C.S.C., and former FTP staffer Alex Dee, a digital-content creator for our sister ministry Family Rosary, who's also the co-founder, director and narrator of the Saints Alive podcast. 

FTP pals Sister Nancy Usselmann of the Daughters of St. Paul, and actress/singer/producer Maria Vargo also appear.

Click here to find information and the first batch of videos.

But First, Communion

Leading off the group is Catholic rapper Communion, a k a Álvaro Vega, brother of a frequent FTP collaborator: filmmaker, editor and After Effects instructor Carlos de la Vega.

Here's his testimony:


I caught up with Communion, who began his rap career in a very different way.

I began as a secular rapper, kind of like a comical, vulgar rapper. My first album was just pure vulgarity. And so it wasn't until I encountered the Lord in a very powerful way in 2008, in April, I believe it was April 5th, 2008, when I had my conversion experience, my encounter with Jesus.

Even though I was raised cradle Catholic, I would go to church every Sunday and go through the motions of religion. It wasn't until that moment that I want to say I begin having a personal relationship with the Lord.

I invited Jesus into my life completely. I had this huge conversion. He healed me of an addiction that I had to porn. He healed me of depression.

He healed so many things in my heart that were just bogging me down.

And so that's when the world opened up to me and my spiritual eyes were opened, and I began to understand reality through the eyes of faith.

I began walking with the Lord.

That eventually led to a six-year stint in seminary, but things took a turn:

I was in the seminary for about six years. I didn't become a priest. I came this close. But God had different plans.

But even within the seminary already, it goes without saying, probably, that I stopped making that vulgar music. And I began using my musical talents to evangelize, to catechize, to show other people about Jesus.

And so it was in the seminary that my rector at the time, he encouraged me to rap. He saw it as a powerful expression, a powerful tool for evangelization.

When I mentioned that his journey from darkness into light seemed akin to the one that Mark Wahlberg's character had in the movie Father Stu, Communion said:

If God can pick Father Stu, he can pick Álvaro. Why not?

Communion became involved with the Mirando al Cielo project through a friend -- and he's a big fan of the young San José Sánchez del Río:

He's very inspirational, especially to the Mexican people. At 14 years old, as you can imagine, giving his life for the Lord, such a staunch faith, such a strong example of faith and martyrdom, I think is beautiful.

And I think that that's the faith that we should each have, not holding onto our lives so much, or not being so attached even to our own lives that we'd be willing to give it all for the Lord.

Asked what he hopes his video and the film do for young people, Communion said:

I pray it is going to be inspirational to many youth and young adults, because even here in the United States, as me and you both know, it's getting harder to live out our faith.

There's a war on our faith and we're being persecuted.

Right now it could be a soft persecution, but it's leading to stronger things.

So, that's the faith that we're called to have, the faith of a martyr. I give my life for Jesus, and I'm not going to be clinging so tightly to my life or whatever that I'm going to fall back.

We have to be ready. I want to have that faith that San José Sanchez had.

Here's a sample of what Communion does (with a cameo by his brother as a priest):


Image: Mirando al Cielo poster (Fathom Events); Communion (courtesy of the artist)

Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.

Keep up with Family Theater Productions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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