CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
On May 18th, Our Lady of the Rosary and San Juan de Dios Church, at El Saladillo, western Zulia state, was upgraded to the status of Minor Basilica, with the temple honoring the Virgin of Chiquinquirá having the rank it deserved. On November 15th, the League of Nations, the forerunner of the United Nations, met for the first time in Geneva. On January 3rd, an earthquake hit Mexico, killing hundred people and sweeping entire towns
Virgin Mary chose her shelter -the Maracaibo's San Juan de Dios Church, built in 1686, which later became the Chiquinquirá Basilica (Photo: La Verdad newspaper)
They were born on the same day. On May 18th, Pope Benedict
XV bestowed the degree of Minor Basilica on Maracaibo's San
Juan de Dios Church, better known as Chiquinquirá Basilica.
Karol Wojtyla, the next-to-become Pope John Paul II, had been
born on that very day, in Wadowice, Poland. They would meet
many years later, on January 27th, 1985, during the homily
"New Evangelization," at the most revered temple by Zulia
Father Antonio María Soto Romero, of the Puertos de Altagracia, made the application to turn it into Minor Basilica. On July 16th, 1917, the Pope provided for the canonic coronation of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, fondly known as "La Chinita." Finally, on November 18th, 1942, the Virgin of Chiquinquirá was crowned in a ceremony attended by then Venezuela's President Eleazar López Contreras.
The future Basilica, built in 1686, was chosen by Virgin Mary. According to the legend, a board bearing the image was set to be taken to the Cathedral, but it got very heavy, and the direction had to be changed instead towards the hermit.
Inside a room at the southern tower of the Basilica, there are artifacts as evidence of many Venezuelans' faith. They range from copies of the Presidency's chairs of former Presidents Rafael Caldera and Luis Herrera Campíns, to several miniatures of drilling rigs presented by former President Carlos Andrés Pérez during his first presidential term, to copies of the Miss World crown, presented by Susana Duijm in 1955 and Zulian Ninibeth Leal in 1991.
The League of Nations
The League of Nations, an inter-governmental organization born to the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, in the aftermath of World War I in order to lay the foundations for peace and create a new international order, held its first meeting in Geneva. Venezuela took an active part in each out of the six commissions set up to work on world disarmament. The origin of the United Nations, the League of Nations, came to an end on April 18th, 1946, after World War II.
On October 19th, a coup attempt against General Juan Vicente Gómez, led by General Juan Pablo Peñalosa from Táchira on September 30th, was disclosed. Gómez himself explained in a letter that it was "declaring the war against Venezuela's peace and institutions."
An earthquake caused severe damages in Mexico. Most of the audience at a crowded Orizaba theater died. In Coscomatepec district, the church tower fell down on the mass attendees. Two trains traveling between Veracruz and Mexico City derailed.
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