Happy Valentine’s Day
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all Happy Valentine’s Day! Have you ever wondered how this annual ritual began? Here’s what the research into the history of St. Valentine revealed – and surprisingly a link to Ireland that we were totally unaware of.
Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus. One legend says that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Yet another legend says the saint was the one who sent the very first Valentine. According to the story, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter while he was in prison and sent her a message of affection, signed “From Your Valentine.”
While there’s no definitive written account of St. Valentine and his life in the third century, his Irish connection is more recent – and documented. In the year 1836, Pope Gregory XVI sent a gift to the Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street, Dublin, in recognition of the work of the church’s former prior, Father John Spratt, who was widely recognized as a very holy man. The gift was a relic of a Christian martyr: a small gold-bound casket containing the earthly remains of St. Valentine. The relic had been exhumed from the cemetery of St. Hyppolytus on the Tiburtine Way in Rome, placed in a golden casket, and brought to Dublin, where it was enshrined in the little church with great ceremony. This year, on February 14th, as it has in every year since, the casket containing the Saint’s mortal remains will be carried in solemn procession to the high altar of the Carmelite Church for a special Mass dedicated to young people and those in love. If you’re lucky enough to be there, this little known Dublin church also sells Valentine’s Day cards. Truly, it can be said – these are the genuine article!
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion Valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. Christmas is the first.
Once again, Happy Valentine’s Day and We hope you get what you wished for!