This year 2019, the Sanctuary of Betania was decorated on March 25th, 30th and 31st to celebrate the Annunciation of the Virgin, in the framework of the 43rd anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady Reconciler of All Peoples.
On Monday, March 25, a solemn Mass was presided over by His Excellency Bishop Georges Kahhale, Apostolic Exarch of Venezuela (Melkite Greek) and member of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference with Father Jhonfer Camacho, Rector of the Sanctuary of Betania; Father Juan Carlos Silva, Auxiliary Judicial Vicar of the Provincial Court of Caracas and Father Orlando Gonzalez, Parish Priest of San Jose de Los Altos. Father Camacho welcomed everyone by saying that the Lord had set his eyes on this blessed land of reconciliation as a gift to Venezuela and the world. He recalled the Servant of God Maria Esperanza Bianchini and Mr. Geo Bianchini, expressing that they “bless us with their grace, strength and light, so we may continue fighting for our country, and sowing love, reconciliation and peace”. The Apostolic Exarch Kahhale said that he was grateful that Our Lady of Betania was Reconciler, because she would bring reconciliation among all religions that believe in one God, and asserted that it was a grace that she existed, because everyone longed for reconciliation among Venezuelans and Our Lady of Betania would unite them. Father Juan Carlos Silva said that they were in “a place of grace, a theological place, but even more it is a place where the human being meets the Lord through the Glorious and Immaculate Virgin Mary”. He reiterated that the site was a national sanctuary, and that the eyes of the entire republic and the world were set on it. He concluded by saying: “No one can stop the work of God and light always shines in the darkness.”
On Saturday, March 30th, members of the Betania Foundation and pilgrims participated in the Lenten Retreat given by Father Enrique Yanes at the sanctuary, which culminated with another solemn Mass for the Feast of the Annunciation. Father Yanes reflected on three key words inspired by the Virgin before the angel in the mystery of the Incarnation: Courage, “Mary assumes with courage what God is telling her.” Joy, “He who does the will of God with joy, has guaranteed his happiness and the road to success.” And availability, “Availability will lead you to salvation.”
The official celebration of the 43rd anniversary of Our Lady of Betania was on Sunday, March 31st. The day began at 8:00 a.m. with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a Holy Hour, the Rosary along with the procession of the statue of Our Lady Reconciler, and Mariachi. At 11:00 a.m. the Bishop of the diocese of Los Teques, Bishop Freddy Fuenmayor presided over the solemn Mass. During his homily, he reflected on the significant title of the Blessed Mother in that place, as Reconciler of Peoples and invited to have a humble attitude before God, to recognize ones sins and to reconcile with Him, with family and neighbor. He requested to entrust oneself to the Blessed Virgin under the title of Our Lady Reconciler of Peoples in the sanctuary where people go “to seek the peace and love that emanates from the open arms of Mary, our Mother, Mother of Jesus Christ, Mother of Our Lord”.
All activities were supported by the Betania Foundation and Betania Choir.