This September 8 marks the hundredth anniversary of the proclamation of Our Lady of the Valley as Patroness of the Diocese of Guayana, which, by 1921, included the territory of the current states of Bolívar, Anzoátegui, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Sucre, Amazonas and Delta Amacuro. .
The ecclesiastical authorities of these dioceses explained, in a pastoral letter released last July, that the patronage of the Virgen del Valle over the Diocese of Guayana was requested by the faithful devotees and institutions of civil life, with the support of the priests of this territory.
“On April 27, 1921, the Sacred Congregation of Rites, on behalf of Pope Benedict XV, confirmed the election made.
He fixed his feast on September 8 and attributes to him all the privileges and honors that, according to the laws of the Church, are incumbent upon
Main patrons ”, reads the pastoral letter.
The Virgin of the Valley has accompanied the life of the Church in eastern Venezuela, since the beginning of evangelization. The
The image of La Purísima or Immaculate Conception was manufactured in Spain and brought to the new continent, approximately in the year 1500. It was destined for the church of Nueva Cádiz, on the island of Cubagua, which at the time was in high demand by the
exploitation of pearls.
When Cubagua was looted and depopulated, the image is taken to the island of Margarita. It was installed in a small hermitage
It was built in a valley near the Villa del Espíritu Santo, where it received the devotion of the ancient inhabitants of Cubagua and the Guaiqueríes Indians.
The small hermitage became a Sanctuary and a place of pilgrimage for the inhabitants of the island and the entire country.
During the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, and thanks to the initiative of Monsignor César Ramón Ortega Herrera, the Shrine
de la Virgen del Valle was recognized as a Minor Basilica on June 7, 1995.
The Pastoral of the Bishops of the East calls for this centenary of patronage to be “a personal encounter with
Jesus Christ and his Word, the sacraments and love for those in need ”.
Annual tradition. Every year the festivities of Our Lady of the Valley are celebrated by the devotees. The mass of the 8th of
September, before the pandemic, brought together more than 120.000 faithful from the island and across the country; But the pandemic turned every house into a temple of worship.
Devotees from their homes witness the Holy Eucharist, through the media, and perform rosaries and
cultural tributes to the Virgin.
The devotion to the Virgen del Valle marks the life of the eastern region. Parishes, temples, educational and charitable works are named after the Virgin. The expressions of faith and the multiple artistic and cultural manifestations in his honor speak of a people that finds in the Virgen del Valle a sign of Christian identity.
Beyond our borders, where the sons and daughters of this region have moved, they have taken with them as one of
his greatest treasures are the devotion to the Virgin. From that devotion came the initiative "Virgin of the World Valley", which each year offers a virtual offering to its beloved Mother. This year 70 cultists from eastern Venezuela participate who sing with love and faith to
his Virgin Marinera.
There are many miracles attributed to the Virgen del Valle. The Diocesan Museum of El Valle del Espíritu Santo exhibits the gifts and offerings left by the devotees. Tradition attributes to the Virgin of the Valley the appearance of rains in times of great drought and the protection of her children during the War of Independence.
They say that Juan Bautista Arismendi was saved from a bullet that was blocked by a medal from the Virgen del Valle.
One of the most widespread miracles is that of the fisherman Domingo, who, in search of pearls in the sea, was struck by a manta ray that ulcerated his leg, which was going to be amputated. His wife asked the Virgin and after a few days he was healed. The fisherman promised the Virgin the first pearl he found, when he returned to the sea, and so it was; found a large oyster with a pearl in the shape of a leg with the same scar.