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.”