The 40th anniversary of the first apparition, on March 25, 1976, of Mary, Virgin and Mother, Reconciler of All Peoples and Nations in the Sanctuary of Betania was celebrated on April 10. Pilgrims from Venezuela and the world traveled to pay homage to the Blessed Mother.
From early in the morning, pilgrims visited the sanctuary that was beautifully decorated with flowers, thanks to the work of the Vice-rector of the sanctuary, Father Jhonfer Camacho and the Betania Foundation. The activities of the sanctuary began with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the rosary, the procession of the statue of Our Lady Reconciler, her coronation and Mass.
Before beginning Holy Mass, the statue of Mary, Virgin and Mother, Reconciler of All Peoples and Nations was crowned by little Maria Mia Schultz, the great-granddaughter of the President of the Betania Foundation, Mr. Geo Bianchini.
Mass began at 11:00 a.m. It was presided over by the Bishop of Los Teques, Bishop Freddy Fuenmayor and concelebrated by Father Timothy Byerley, the Vice-postulator of the Cause of the Servant of God Maria Esperanza Bianchini, and by Father Jhonfer Camacho, and accompanied by the music of the Betania Choir.
During his homily, Bishop Fuenmayor praised the fortune the Venezuelans had of being blessed on different occasions by manifestations of the Virgin. The first, with the presence of the Patroness of Venezuela, Our Lady of Coromoto, and the second, with Our Lady Mary Reconciler, in the Sanctuary of Betania to Mrs. Maria Esperanza Bianchini, on March 25, 1976, the feast of Annunciation. From this event on, other apparitions took place which make Betania a place where the Virgin is present to offer her Son Jesus Christ.
The Bishop also explained the reasons that prompted him to declare the Sanctuary of Betania Holy Door of Mercy for this Jubilee Year: the presence of the Blessed Mother and the large influx of pilgrims.
To end the ceremony, the Betania Choir sang the hymn of Our Lady, Ave Maria of Finca Betania and Hail Mary. Mr. Geo Bianchini stated he was feeling very happy: “This is a big day for God, for the Blessed Mother, for all of us who have come to know and love Our Lady Reconciler of Peoples during these 40 years.”
Later on, the Betania Foundation and the Bianchini family invited Bishop Fuenmayor, Father Timothy Byerley, Father Jhonfer Camacho and the community of Betania to share a feast on the premises of the Betania Foundation, at a banquet room called El Trapiche. It was there where they enjoyed a great lunch, a video for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin, testimonies of the daughters of the Bianchinis and of the Andreus, and also received a commemorative present of that day.