Our sincere wish of a venturous year 2020

Dear Betania Family:

After culminating a year of fruitful work with the big family that the Lord and Mary Reconciler have given us in inheritance, by the merits of our Servant of God Maria Esperanza, we want to extend our sincere wish of a venturous year 2020.

We are very grateful to everyone for your presence, commitment, prayer and work during 2019!

We ask Our Lady to continue accompanying you and may the Infant Jesus fill your future projects – for the glory of God – with joy and enthusiasm.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!

The Betania Foundation

” Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take as your heritage the Kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world” (Mt 25, 34).

The funeral Mass of Monsignor Henry Padilla was held on Thursday, September 12, 2019, at 12:00 m. at La Caridad del Cobre Church, in Santa Paula, Caracas, with the music of the Betania Choir. Mons. Padilla was a very humane priest, he showed deep Christian piety, loved ecclesial liturgy and was very close to the Bianchini family, the Betania Choir and the Betania Foundation. The Eucharist was presided by Cardinal Emeritus Jorge Urosa Savino and was attended by a hundred clergy – bishops and priests – and countless parishioners.
During his homily, Cardinal Urosa said: “Today, of course, we feel very sad due to the death of our dear brother Henry, but at the same time we are comforted in the resurrection to new life. We know that we have a living faith. The gift of our faith is something extraordinary. Faith gives us the correct vision of what the human being is: a person created in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, called to be an eternal son of God, to go beyond the level of being a mere human to be wonderful child of God called to share a divine life.”

Before Mass, the leader of the Betania Choir, Prof. Maria Auxiliadora Bianchini Leon, greatly affected by his passing, told the members of the choir that when they called her to participate in this Mass, they told her that on Monsignor Padilla’s desk, in his agenda it said, under the date of September 11, the day of Our Lady of Coromoto and of his passing: Call the Betania Choir. This has touched her deeply, but despite her grief, with faith and confidence she expressed: “Let us be happy because Our Lady embraced him and took him on the day of the Virgin of Coromoto. Our Lady of Coromoto, patroness of Venezuela, cover us with your mantle and give us your blessing, and lead Monsignor Padilla to Heaven. Amen. So, let us be happy, glad to be able to show our support to our Church and to someone who quietly gave of himself so much.”

On August 7, 2019, during the Mass to commemorate the passing of the Servant of God Maria Esperanza Bianchini, Monsignor Padilla said some beautiful words to the Betania Foundation that will always be engraved in their hearts: “Proud and with much joy of being able to welcome this large family of Maria Esperanza, whose work and dedication brings forth this new environment, a Christian and accessible environment, a family atmosphere, my congratulations to you. May the intercession of Maria Esperanza embrace Venezuela so it may regain peace, tranquility and freedom, which only may come from Jesus Christ, Our Lord.”

After Holy Mass, priests and parishioners went to the pantheon of the Archdiocese of Caracas, in the Eastern Cemetery for the funeral. Rest in peace.

THE 15th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SERVANT OF GOD MARIA ESPERANZA, A DAY OF FAITH AND HOPE

On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, the memory of the Servant of God Maria Esperanza Medrano Bianchini, messenger of Our Lady of Betania, was honored on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of her passing from this world to the abode of the Lord. In the La Caridad del Cobre Church, located in Caracas, priests and parishioners gathered to participate in a solemn Mass, which was presided by the Bishop Exarch of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church in Venezuela, Bishop Georges Kahhale. Monsignor Henry William Padilla, Rector of La Caridad del Cobre Church, Santa Paula; Father Juan Carlos Silva, Rector of Santa Rosalia, Caracas; Father Angel Rios, Rector of Santa Rosalia de Palermo, El Hatillo; Father Lexander Brito, Rector of Our Lady of Guadalupe, El Junquito; and Father Orlando Gonzalez, Rector of San Jose de Los Altos concelebrated during Mass. The Betania Choir accompanied this special celebration with its music.

During his homily, Bishop Kahhale urged to have faith “because Christ has defeated the world”. He said that the Servant of God Maria Esperanza had left important memories in the hearts, in the community and not only in Betania, but throughout the world, through the Communities of Betania that spread the message of peace and reconciliation. He expressed his desire that she could be elevated to the altars so others could follow her example of love and of conveying the doctrine of Christ.

After the Eucharist, the priests shared their opinions in private interviews. Monsignor Padilla expressed that he had met the Servant of God Maria Esperanza when he was Rector of St. Joseph of El Hatillo, exalting her work, especially with her family and the Betania Choir, which radiated much joy and faith, since all its members acknowledged Jesus Christ. He asserted that the choir had an important message for the country due to its expressions of closeness, joy, faith and hope. Father Rios, on the other hand, said that they had grown up with the Servant of God and that she always transmitted them much joy and hope, and above all, a great desire to draw close to God, “During these fifteen years we have been walking with her, because she also allows us to continue enjoying God’s blessings in communion with the Church, and that is why we are here asking the Lord for the grace to see her be elevated to the altars.” Likewise, Father Silva spoke about the obvious and evident fruits of this servant of God; those of mercy, salvation, compassion and love; of love for brotherly and family unity. Similarly, Father Brito said that he had met her and visited the Sanctuary of Betania when he was little; that God would make men and women emerge from his people to help the world, “I think that this is the legacy Maria Esperanza left,” he said. Father Gonzalez said that to him the Servant of God Maria Esperanza was hope, future and an important influence in Venezuela.

Afterwards, they went to the Eastern Cemetery in La Guairita, in Caracas, to pray the Rosary and ask for her intercession for the yearned peace and reconciliation in the country. It was certainly a great day of light and hope for all Venezuelans.

Members of the Betania Foundation and the Betania Choir accompanied Father Jesus Godoy at his Missionary Send Away Mass

On Sunday, July 14, 2019, at the Jesus, the Good Shepherd Parish in Bello Campo, Caracas, at 11:30 in the morning, members of the Betania Foundation and the Betania Choir attended the Eucharistic celebration presided by His Eminence Cardinal Baltazar Porras and concelebrated by the Director of the Pontifical Missionary Works, Father Endeer Zapata. The occasion was Father Jesus Godoy moving from the Archdiocese of Caracas to Mozambique-Africa as a missionary. He will be going to the community of Santa Maria de Manje, where a group of Venezuelan missionaries attend the People of God. Numerous priests, seminarians, religious and laity participated in the Mass. The St. Joachim and St. Anne Parochial Choir, and the Betania Choir sang during the celebration. In his homily, Cardinal said that consecrated souls should be able to give themselves fully to what the Lord is demanding of them. That they should work for the life and dignity of every human being. He spoke about missionary responsibilities. He urged to be true Samaritans and explained that they were sending one of the best priests of the archdiocese to Africa, to motivate others to embrace the consecrated life.

For his part, Father Jesus Godoy, at the end of the Eucharist, expressed his gratitude to all for the support he had had, so he could live his missionary vocation, and then called to the altar a priest and about twenty foreign religious nuns and acknowledged them for “spending” their lives for Venezuelans. Then, in private, he addressed the members of the Betania Foundation saying: “My gratitude to the entire Betania Foundation for everything it does in our country: for evangelization, for sharing the message of peace and reconciliation in the midst of these difficult times, especially for the commitment and help to the vocations and the seminary, and for always being concerned through the different Communities of Betania around the world. I also encourage you to continue on the mission that Our Lord teaches us, invites us and encourages everyone to follow: the message of peace, unity and solidarity. May God bless all of us.”

A Tribute to Sister Margaret Catherine Sims

On Saturday, July 6th, 2019, a Mass presided by Reverend Richard Clancy, together with Father Michael McNamara and Father Francis Signorelli was held in the Chapel of the Betania II Retreat Center, as a tribute to Sister Margaret Catherine Sims, who had passed away on February 21st, 2019. The musical accompaniment was performed by David Lang and Joanna Cronan. Members of the Community of Betania II and members of the Bianchini family attended to pay homage to Sister Margaret. She was the foundress of the Community of Betania II, inspired by the messenger of Our Lady of Betania, the Servant of God Maria Esperanza Medrano Bianchini. Today, this is a beautiful place for retreats and a center of evangelization located in Medway, Massachusetts, United States, which is dedicated to spreading the message of love, reconciliation and family unity given by Our Lady Reconciler of All Peoples in the Sanctuary of Betania, in Venezuela.

At the end of the Eucharist, an emotional video was shown where Sister Margaret explained how the Servant of God Maria Esperanza had guided her steps in the uprising of that important spiritual site. Then, the director of the center, Mrs. Rose Patek, said that there were many problems in the world, but that when listening to the song called “Brotherly Unity” of the Betania Choir, which God inspired to the Servant of God Maria Esperanza, the heart was widened and the glory of God could be seen. She added that evangelization will continue, that they pray constantly for the Betania Foundation in Venezuela and that everyone has a great mission: to work in true “brotherly unity”.

For her part, Mrs. Maria Esperanza Bianchini Foley spoke of the importance of cultivating spiritual growth and of giving of oneself to the Holy Mother Church. She asked the Lord for the grace of sharing as a great family that works for the kingdom of God, and that is preparing itself with great fortitude and prayer to win many souls for Him. She expressed that the Bianchini family was there to invite them to not lose hope “because God is our hope, our Mother Reconciler of Peoples is our hope and we, Christians, always have to have hope “.

Mr. Giovanni Bianchini spoke of the wonderful legacy Sister Margaret left and thanked the organizers for having allowed them to participate in the tribute to Sister, whom they loved very much and who was a very dear spiritual daughter of their mother. He pointed out that his parents, Mr. Bianchini and the Servant of God Maria Esperanza, and Sister Margaret were great role models.
Mrs. Maria Gracia Bianchini Gebran explained how God wanted her mother to have a religious and a mother’s heart, because He wanted her to be the mother of many. She spoke of Our Lady Reconciler of Peoples who had appeared in the Sanctuary of Betania as the great family builder, calling everyone to reconcile with the Father, their neighbor and the whole world.

Homenaje a la hermana Margaret Catherine Sims

El sábado, 6 de julio de 2019, una santa Misa presidida por el reverendo Richard F. Clancy, junto a los padres Michael McNamara y Francis Signorelli, con el acompañamiento musical de David Lang y Joanna Cronan, miembros de la comunidad de Betania II y miembros de la familia Bianchini se llevó a cabo en la capilla del centro de retiro Betania II, como homenaje a la hermana Margaret Catherine Sims, quien falleció el 21 de febrero de 2019. La hermana Margaret fue fundadora de la comunidad de Betania II inspirada por la mensajera de la Virgen de Betania, la sierva de Dios María Esperanza Medrano de Bianchini. Hoy en día, este es un hermoso lugar de retiro y centro de evangelización ubicado en Medway, Massachusetts, Estados Unidos, que se dedica a propagar el mensaje de amor, reconciliación y unión familiar dado por la Virgen Reconciliadora de los Pueblos en el Santuario de Betania, en Venezuela.

Al finalizar la Eucaristía se proyectó un emotivo video donde la hermana Margaret explicaba cómo la sierva de Dios María Esperanza había guiado sus pasos en el levantamiento de ese importante emplazamiento espiritual. Luego, la directora del mismo, la Sra. Rose Patek, expresó que había muchos problemas en el mundo, pero que cuando se escuchaba la canción de la Coral Betania, que inspiró Dios a la sierva de Dios María Esperanza, llamada “Unidad Fraternal” se ensanchaba el corazón y se podía ver la gloria de Dios. Agregó que la evangelización continuará, que oran constantemente por la Fundación Betania en Venezuela y que todos tienen una gran misión: trabajar en una verdadera “unidad fraternal”.

Por su parte, la Sra. María Esperanza Bianchini de Foley habló de la importancia de cultivar el crecimiento espiritual y entrega a la santa madre Iglesia. Pidió al Señor la gracia de compartir como una gran familia que trabaja por el reino de Dios, y que se prepara con mucha fuerza y oración para conquistar muchas almas para Él. Expresó que la familia Bianchini estaba allí para invitarles a no perder la esperanza “porque Dios es nuestra esperanza, nuestra Madre Reconciliadora de los Pueblos es nuestra esperanza y nosotros los cristianos siempre tenemos que tener esperanza”.

El Sr. Giovanni Bianchini habló del maravilloso legado de la hermana Margaret y agradeció a los organizadores el haberles permitido participar en el homenaje a la Sister, a quien amaron mucho y fue una hija espiritual muy querida de su mamá. Señaló que sus padres, el Sr. Geo y la sierva de Dios María Esperanza, y la hermana Margaret eran grandes modelos a seguir.

La Sra. María Gracia Bianchini de Gebran manifestó cómo Dios quiso que su mamá tuviese un corazón de religiosa y un corazón de madre, porque quería que fuese la madre de muchos. Habló de la Virgen Reconciliadora de los Pueblos quien se había presentado en el Santuario de Betania como la gran formadora de las familias, llamando a todos a la reconciliación con el Padre, los hermanos y el mundo entero.

Virgin of Betania in One of the Most Multitudinous Processions in Venezuela

As a providential event, the official statue of Our Lady Reconciler of the All Peoples, Our Lady of Betania, traveled to meet her Divine Son in one of the most attended processions in Venezuela on the Great Sunday of Mercy, which has been organized for twenty-two years by the Association “Maria Camino a Jesus”, under the direction of its President, Mr. Jose Luis Matheus.

On Saturday, April 27, 2019, Fray Gilberto Urbaez, Augustinian Recollect, officiated Mass on the eve of the procession in the Church of Our Lady of Consolation. The Betania Choir participated with their songs and carried the Virgin of Betania during the procession. Fray Gilberto stated, “I come from a town near Betania. I am from Charallave, near Cua, where this Marian title appeared. For me it has been a blessing, a great joy.”

On Sunday, April 28, the Great Sunday of Mercy began at 1:30 p.m. at the Church of Our Lady of Consolation. One of the daughters of the messenger of Our Lady of Betania (Servant of God Maria Esperanza Bianchini), Mrs. Maria Coromoto Bianchini Marrero gave a catechesis on the message of reconciliation that Our Lady brought and on the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, one of the main devotions of her mother. She explained, “Our Lady in her messages said that Betania was the new Lourdes of America and that she came to restore us, to bring us peace, conversion and fraternal unity. She came to prepare us for this moment that we were living. She has come today to tell us, ‘Children, reconcile. Here I am.’ Because reconciliation is the act of restoring broken relationships.” In regard to the Eucharist, she said that from an early age her mother urged them to do the Hour of Adoration and insisted on following four fundamental pillars in life: Prayer, meditation, penance and the Eucharist.

After the Hour of Adoration, the statue of Jesus of the Divine Mercy, brought from Rome and blessed by Pope Benedict XVI, began a three-kilometer procession, accompanied by a multitudinous crowd that headed to the University Campus where Our Lady of Betania was waiting for him, beautifully decorated with roses and blue butterflies, and the music of the Betania Choir. Before the procession arrived, one of the youth of the Betania Choir, Luis Yovera, was asked to share his testimony with the hundreds of devotees who were at the site. Part of his reflections were, “If we have young saints, it is because the adults have raised them well, they have taught them to go to Mass, the importance of praying the Rosary, of the sacraments, of giving support to the Church. […]. One sees a friend who has left the country and is doing well. He has a car, the latest model phone; he isn’t forced to endure power rationing, water rationing, but he does have God rationing. In these first world societies, what is the first thing they do? They divide the family. In the United States it is a shame to live with your parents at the age of thirty, but that is what Jesus did. Jesus lived with Mary until He was thirty. So, that should not be something for us Christians to feel ashamed of, because that is what Jesus of Mercy calls us for. Jesus carried love in his veins, so much so that when they pierced his Heart, the more love gushed forth.”

The event concluded with the celebration of the Holy Mass presided by His Excellency Jose Luis Azuaje, the Archbishop of Maracaibo and President of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, accompanied by a large group of priests and seminarians, and the music of the Betania Choir. After the Eucharist, while the Betania Choir closed the event with the Alleluia of G.F. Haendel, Archbishop Azuaje told the press, “This event is of a great hope for all the people of Zulia and Venezuela.”