Conflicted: Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day share a day

by Wade Massey February 14, 2018, 18:05
Conflicted: Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day share a day

But what about the meat and candies that typically come with a Valentine's Day dinner? Therefore, no dispensation, or special exception, will be granted for that day in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Rev. Chuck Kramer, rector of St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park, said that offering ashes-to-go a year ago provided "some good conversations about why we have ashes, what Lent is, and who Jesus is".

For instance, if you have a date and he shows up wearing ashes, you shouldn't say, "Oh!"

However, much like Christmas, Valentine's Day has been hijacked from a time when the day had religious overtones. "Let us fill Valentine's Day with the Lenten spirit", said Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas in a Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News post. "It's meant to be a positive and good thing".

As a compromise Catholic bishops have suggested celebrating the festival of romance this evening instead - but those who may leave it to tomorrow may end up having a more abstemious meal than is usual.

Heavily Irish-American Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States often make an exception when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Lenten Friday, allowing for the traditional corned beef and cabbage on a day when church members would normally be asked to avoid meat.

For the second consecutive year, archdiocesan leaders are encouraging Catholics to go without their cellphones on Fridays this Lent. Those between 18 and 59 years old are also required by Church law to fast during Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. After a series of parish mergers and church building closures since last summer, pastors of parishes with multiple church buildings will determine the church where confessions will be heard.

In addition to the rib-eye steaks and chateaubriand for two, when restaurant owners realized Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday would collide, "we decided, of course, we've got to add the seafood, which we always had, but it became a bigger part of our Valentine's", Walsh said. "With confession, our goal here is to be welcoming. Let me take care of that!"

"I prefer not to name the ashes as a sign of shame or guilt or sorrow, but one where God claims us as beloved and transformed to turn around the beauty and grace in our lives", said Strader.

"Valentine's Day is a season of love, so Ash Wednesday falling on that day is a lovely time to think about how God loves us", she added.

While they know and understand not everyone will visit with them to start the season, Brydon said it's a reminder that this year's February 14 is more than Valentine's Day, and it brings forward the meaning of Ash Wednesday, that everyone is mortal. Easter began as a celebration of the physical resurrection of Jesus, who had been crucified to pay for the sins of the world, not only performing the greatest miracle in history, but also proving that his death really had been effective in providing forgiveness for anyone who would repent and believe.


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