13 February 2010

Putting the Saint Back in Valentine's Day; World Marriage Day

For some years I have been campaigning to put the 'SAINT' back into St Valentines' Day to give its proper meaning to this celebration of a priest martyred because of his defence of the sacrament of matrimony. Read about SAINT Valentine, a priest martyred for celebrating weddings, on the website of the Carmelite Friars (OCarm) in Ireland and on this blog here (2008) and here (2009).

I'm happy to discover that I'm not the only one engaged in this campaign. On 4 February the Catholic Archdiociese of Adelaide, Australia, issued this press release:

Putting the Saint back in Valentine's Day

The Catholic Church has moved to reclaim St Valentine’s Day in a bold campaign focusing on the true meaning of the saint’s feast day and the importance of romance in marriage.

The national initiative, featured in an article in the February issue of The Southern Cross, provides parishes and Catholic school families with practical suggestions for celebrating St Valentine’s Day and encouraging married couples to spend more time together.

St Valentine was executed on February 14, 269AD for going against a decree by Roman ruler Claudius that weddings be suspended because he needed unattached men to serve in his armies.

Archbishop Philip Wilson said the campaign was an opportunity to advocate the sacred bond of marriage. He said one of the great tragedies in society today was the breakdown of marriage and home.

Brochures and other resources such as prepared homilies, items for newsletters and discussion points for community groups have been sent out to parishes and schools.

The St Valentine’s Day campaign is also being publicised through the Catholic Church’s monthly newspaper The Southern Cross, which for the first time is available online in a new publishing arrangement with Solstice Media.

The first digital edition of the 143-year-old Southern Cross comes 10 years after the publication was revamped as a free newspaper distributed to all Catholic school families as well as to parishes throughout the State.

To view the digital version of the February issue of The Southern Cross, visit www.thesoutherncross.org.au

Tomorrow, 14 February, is also World Marriage Day.

Happy St Valentine's Day, Happy World Marriage Day, Happy Lunar NewYear!!!


Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Happy Feast Day Fr Sean! We have a different Valentine 21st Feb with relics given to Newman..& have a separate side altar.
Re marriage etc have you heard of retrouvail? I must look into yr marriage encounter stuff..speak more soon..you still speaking??

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Hello, Jakcie. Still speaking! I was offline for 12 days while giving a retreat to Missionaries of Charity followed by a three-day Columban meeting in a place where the signal was very poor. Retrouvaille is going well in Manila, partly thanks to Fr Dave Clay, a columban from Philadelphia. It is specifically for couples with troubled marriages but who are willing to give it at least one more try whereas the Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) is for couples who have a basically good marriage but want it to be better. Retrouvaille has its roots in WWME in Canada, hence the Frnech name, meaning 'rediscovery'. WWME:http://www.wwme.org/ Retouvaille: http://www.retrouvaille.org/

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Sorry for misspelling 'Jackie!