This year, Ash Wednesday falls on February 14. Most of us associate the date with Saint Valentine, and “Valentine’s Day” has become a major secular custom. I have no objections to the celebrations of the saint or even the celebration of romance in the secular observance. However, I must remind all that Ash Wednesday takes precedence over the custom. This solemn day of fasting and abstinence inaugurates the season of Lent. It recalls the faithful to a stance of humility towards God and openness to repentance. It reminds us of the Grace of the Lord Jesus and the saving power of Divine Love. For 2024, it is not a day for feasting.
Fortunately, the day before is Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday.” While it is not a feast of the Church, it is longstanding custom to feast and celebrate on that day before the long season of Lenten preparation. I respectfully ask couples to consider celebrating Valentines on that day and leave Ash Wednesday to the eternal value of Christ’s love for us. May God’s love bless and keep you every day of the year!