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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day, which is properly SAINT Valentine's Day for Catholics, is predominantly now associated with expensive gifts, roses and sweet cards for the romantically involved and bitter diatribes against the customs for the single people.

The name of the day comes from a Roman Catholic priest, St. Valentine, although three particular men named Valentine figure into Catholic history.

Some may think it trivial, but the name of the day is important, especially for those of us who are Catholic. I do not have a personal problem or conflict with the secular celebrations attributed to the saint or the day; they are relatively harmless and come from much, much later folk traditions that do not profane or contradict the memory of any ancient saint of that name. But it is named after a saint. Despite this day being reduced from feast to commemoration by Pope Pius XII in 1955, and it's full removal from the current General Calendar in 1969, we still have a holy man that remains in the Roman Martyrology from the 5th century to the present. Therefore, he continues as an ancient witness to the faith. For Catholics, this also serves as example to the myriad of daily reminders of how central the faith is to our daily lives. (An interesting note is that the St. Valentine's feast day in the Eastern Church is July 4).

Take away the Saint and you take away the reminder and do an injustice to one of the many that paid the ultimate price to retain the belief in the gift to be handed down to us!


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