Father Timothy Byerley, pastor of St. John Vianney Parish, Deptford, has been appointed vice postulator for the beatification cause of Maria Esperanza Medrano de Bianchini.
Maria Esperanza was a visionary and the central figure in the Marian apparitions at Betania, Venezuela, which were approved by the Church in 1987.
She fell sick during a visit to Long Beach Island, N.J., and died there on Aug. 7, 2004. Consequently, her cause is being initiated from Trenton, the diocese within which Long Beach Island is located.
Father Byerley has known Maria Esperanza and her family since 1994. As Vice Postulator, he will work with the Roman Postulator, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi in attending to the legal, procedural and monetary matters related to the cause.
He will also have the duty to work with the local groups in the United States and Latin America to promote devotion to Maria Esperanza and to study and make known her life and spirituality for the edification of the faithful and the strengthening of the church in the Americas.
The Catholic church’s process leading to canonization involves three major steps. First is the declaration of a person’s heroic virtues, after which the church gives him or her the title Venerable. Second is beatification, after which he or she is called Blessed. The third step is canonization, or declaration of sainthood.
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