Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A day of expressing love

Thanks to "Reese" who alerted us to the Catholic Blog Awards, and that this site has been nominated for a couple of awards. I had no idea! Many thanks to whomever submitted nominations. It's a tremendous honor. God is so good!

The voting is this week; all are invited to vote. Please click on the title of this post to go to the site where you can cast your vote(s).
Today, the Church celebrates the memorial of Sts. Cyril and Methodius liturgically. But, we commonly associate Feb. 14 with St. Valentine. The following is a brief history of St. Valentine’s Day as written on As you will read, there is confusion as to exactly whom St. Valentine was.

As Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us, there are many types of love; romantic love is just one. Please tell or show someone you love them today!

“A quick quiz: St. Valentine was:
a) a priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecuted Christians during the reign of Claudius II, was thrown in jail and later beheaded on Feb. 14.
b) a Catholic bishop of Terni who was beheaded, also during the reign of Claudius II.
c) someone who secretly married couples when marriage was forbidden, or suffered in Africa, or wrote letters to his jailer's daughter, and was probably beheaded.
d) all, some, or possibly none of the above.

If you guessed d), give yourself a box of chocolates. Although the mid-February holiday celebrating love and lovers remains wildly popular, the confusion over its origins led the Catholic Church, in 1969, to drop St. Valentine's Day from the Roman calendar of official, worldwide Catholic feasts. (Those highly sought-after days are reserved for saints with more clear historical record. After all, the saints are real individuals for us to imitate.) Some parishes, however, observe the feast of St. Valentine.

The roots of St. Valentine's Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year.

Pope Gelasius I was, understandably, less than thrilled with this custom. So he changed the lottery to have both young men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year (a change that no doubt disappointed a few young men). Instead of Lupercus, the patron of the feast became Valentine. For Roman men, the day continued to be an occasion to seek the affections of women, and it became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine's name.

There was also a conventional belief in Europe during the Middle Ages that birds chose their partners in the middle of February. Thus the day was dedicated to love, and people observed it by writing love letters and sending small gifts to their beloved. Legend has it that Charles, duke of Orleans, sent the first real Valentine card to his wife in 1415, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. (He, however, was not beheaded, and died a half-century later of old age.)"


At 4:20 PM, Blogger Reese said...

Delighted to have been the one to give you the happy news Fr. Greg! I thought you probably already knew but were being too modest to acknowledge the honors. Many of the other bloggers have been campaigning aggressively both for nominations and votes for some time now (even the priests!). After I hit "publish" I realized I was inefficient and stupid in not adding a link to the voting site; on the Curt Jester's site this morning I saw your comment thanking him for posting your letter about the "Hood's" upcoming basketball game, which you came across by accident while looking for articles about the blog awards. Had I put up the link to the votes you wouldn't have seen your letter on the other site, so I guess we all got "directions" and were just following them. Love it when things work out that way!

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On another note. Are Catholic marriages done outside the church valid and if not, why not? God is everywhere.

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was surfing the net when I came across the wesite about married priests. These are priests that left the priesthood after Vatican 2 to get married. They believe that since they were ordained they will always be priests regardless if they are married or not. Once a priest always a priest. They perform baptisms, marriages etc. Are these marriages and baptisms valid?

At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know a lot of parents are worried about sex education in the school system. Since I have not gone through the school system in this country I was wondering what they were worried about. A child is not (in my opinion) going to be sexually active just because of a class. Actually, the reality is that kids at a younger age are becoming more sexually active often without the parents knowledge. A lot of times parents don't talk to their kids about the birds and the bees so isn't okay for the school to step in and give the sex education classes?

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think most parents, at least the ones with whom I've spoken, are not concerned about the fact that sex ed is taught. In fact, most want it for their kids. The conflict comes over exactly what is taught. Some school systems teach reproductive health and the physical aspect of sex. Others go into sexuality, which really is an entirely different subject. I think that is often where the conflict is.

When I was a junior at a local Catholic girls' school, students were offered a course in female sexuality which was thoughtfully taught by an O.B., family counselor and a child psychologist. It was excellent course which focused less on what we do but, rather why we do it. It was a great tool in learning to think meaningfully about ourselves, our bodies, our feelings and why and how we choose to share them with others. It is info that has become a core in my home where several girls are being raised. So both kinds of courses can be so helpful, but I think a syllabus should be clear so parents are prepared to interject their family teachings into the mix.


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