St. Valentine's Day
Perhaps it is a little early to be speaking of St. Valentine's Day, but one week from now will be too late; the feast will have already past. So, it is best to reflect upon this feast day today.
St. Valentine's occupies a prominent place in both public and private spheres of life. As the day approaches, the pressure is on to make this day special. For some, St. Valentine's is a commercial-driven event, overshadowed by cards, chocolates and flowers. For others, it is an opportunity to stop and show someone, whom they hold dear, how important he or she is to them, using affectionate words and gestures.
The origins of St. Valentine's Day are not known for certain. Most historians believe that it dates back to ancient Rome, to the beginning of Christianity. As for the others, opinion remains divided. We generally associate the patron saint of those in love with a priest named Valentinus (Valentine), who was put to death during the third century. Needing soldiers for his army, Emperor Claudius forbade young men from getting married so that he could send them into combat. But, despite Claudius' law, the priest Valentinus secretly married young couples. He was arrested and executed on February 14, in the year 268.
However, the connection between this feast and the saint associated with it remains unclear. There are at least three saints named Valentine; all three were martyrs. Around the year 496, Pope Gelasius I established February 14 as their joint feast day. It is on this date that they were mentioned in the early martyrologies. Thus since the third century, the 14th of February has been observed as a day of celebration for “those in love,” and St. Valentine has been its patron.
Must one give much thought to this feast, one wonders. As with many feasts, it depends on our approach; if it is casual, celebrating St. Valentine's Day will serve, at least, to brighten up the winter days. But if it leads us to consider the quality of our relationship with a person to whom we are very attached, celebrating St. Valentine's can be an enriching experience.
We should not forget that the patron of this feast day was a martyr, who was filled with love for others and for God until the day he died. He taught us that love requires fidelity, honesty, giving and forgiving, all of which help love to withstand the test of time. In a way, chocolates, romantic meals and flowers can symbolically express these virtues in a simple way and make a relationship stronger on this feast day.
We should remember that the first sign that Jesus performed, as recounted in the Gospel of John, was to help a newly married couple out of a difficult situation. Jesus is genuinely concerned about the fate of “those in love.”
Happy St. Valentine's!
+ Jean-Claude Turcotte
Archbishop of Montreal
- - - - -APPOINTMENTS IN THE DIOCESE
Mme Carole ROSS-MAYNARD, adjointe au vicaire épiscopal de la région Nord.
Mgr Pierre BLANCHARD, C.S.S., vicaire épiscopal de la région Nord, sans préjudice de ses autres tâches;
Mgr Michel PARENT, P.H., V.É., membre du Collège des consulteurs, sans préjudice de ses autres tâches;
Mme Sylvie VALLÉE, adjointe au directeur de l'Office de la famille.
Mme Rita GHANTOUS, agente de pastorale à Jésus-Lumière-du-Monde / Jesus Light of the World;
Mme Patricia MENDOZA-ROSSELL, agente de pastorale et RSE à St-Gilbert;
Fr. Jason PIPER, parish assistant at St. Patrick.
Abbé Thony Roody JEAN, animateur de pastorale à Bse-Marie-Anne-Blondin pour le Centre d'hébergement de St-Henri et pour le Centre d'hébergement Des Seigneurs du CSSS du Sud-Ouest – Verdun.
M. Jean MARCHAND, vice-président d'assemblée de fabrique de St-Ferdinand.
M. Germain JANNARD, vice-président d'assemblée de fabrique de St-Yves.
February 2nd, 2012
Msgr Michel Parent, V.É.
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MISSION JEUNESSE – YOUTH MINISTRY
3rd GATHERING FOR YOUTH MINISTRY LEADERS!
February 21, 2012 @ 7 p.m. at 2000 Sherbrooke Street West
« En prière pour un nouveau souffle d’Évangile sur Montréal »
Night of prayer at the Sanctuaire du Saint-Sacrement
From Saturday February 25 at 8 p.m. to Sunday February 26 at 8 a.m.
See details of the Prayer Night (In French).
The Apostles Cup
Organized by Mission Jeunesse / Youth Ministry
March 3, 2012
The Diocesan World Youth DayMarch 31, 2012