The great thing about waking up in the morning is that you learn something new every day! Some fascinating facts about Valentine’s Day from my dear friend Father Tim Farrell, pastor, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Farmington, New Mexico:
And a very happy Valentine's Day to you. Isn't it interesting that in the Church's calendar this is actually no longer St. Valentine's Day. It is the Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius. When Pope Paul VI revised the calendar, he took out a lot of saints who had no true historical basis. For instance, St. Christopher lost his day because there is no actual proof of his existence. The same sad fate befell St. Valentine. Nonetheless it is still a "sweet" day and all my love and best to you this day.
By the way, a few interesting facts about St. Valentine:
1. There were actually three different Valentines over many different centuries.
2. February 14th had originally been a Roman feast in honor of Juno, the goddess of fertility, and so this was "taken over" by the Catholics, who were good at putting holy days on top of pagan days; thus, Easter falling on a different day each year to follow the ancient pagan ritual of fertility -- Easter eggs (fertility), Easter bunnies (fertility), etc.
3. One of the St. Valentines was a priest/bishop in the early church, according to tradition, and he was condemned to death for his faith. While in prison awaiting his execution, he healed the sight of the jailer's daughter. As he was readying for his execution, he wrote a note of spiritual support to the newly-healed girl and signed it "From Your Valentine;" thus, the official greeting of the special day.
4. King Henry VIII, who had so many "Valentines" in his life, loved the day and made it a holy day in the British Isles.
As to all the saints' days, there are so many thousands of them in the calendar that I only deal with the most famous ones. Like today it is Sts. Cyril and Methodius. I can't keep up with all the others, though some of their lives are quite remarkable, obviously.
Speaking of a saint: I was ordained a priest on June 3, 1989, on the Feast of St. Charles Llwanga and Companions. They were Ugandan martyrs from the 1800s. I remember having read a book on St. Charles and those who were martyred with him as I was ordained on that day. Then, our parish began to build two schools and give support to the people of Uganda. When I visited Uganda last year, I actually celebrated Mass at the altar where St. Charles and a little boy were burned alive.
A fascinating fact on this feast day: Pope Paul VI canonized all the Catholics AND the Protestants who died that day, the first time that had happened in the history of the Church.
Anyhow, I have rambled too long. But before I go, a Tim Farrell fact from St. Valentine's Day:
The candy is never very good. The heart-shaped boxed candy always has pink and orange innards. My brother Patrick (in South Carolina) as a little boy would always bite the bottoms to see what was inside and if he didn't like them, he'd just put them back in their place. Ugh! And then there are those tiny, hard hearts that have the consistency and taste of a Tums. Ugh again!
Somebody's gotta come up with better candy for such a nice day!
God bless and enjoy this beautiful, love-filled day!
Thanks, Tim. I think a boxful of heavenly Divinity candy would be just the thing for you!