Valentine's Day Meets Ash Wednesday

BOB MCKINNEY: What I know

But, in the spirit of Valentine's Day he's saying something different - and expects to get some amusing looks because of it: Remember that you are loved, and to love you shall return.

"We gave the Lord the first month of the year", he said.

You can do both, said the Rev. Katie Nakamura-Rengers, associate rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

"Just because it's Ash Wednesday doesn't mean you can't go out and celebrate love", said the Rev. Tom Warne of Church of the Good Shepherd.

"Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday and is chiefly observed by Catholics".

More will hold an ashes service at 6:30, with Masses Wednesday at 9 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

"You can come get your ashes anytime", Nakamura-Rengers said.

Ash Wednesday wasn't officially accepted into the Catholic Church or its belief system until around 325 AD.

Churches throughout the US offer different ways for people to receive ashes. The holiday falls on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, and a date is significant for many Christians, particularly Catholics. This is treated as a period of reflection and a time for fasting from food and festivities.


People sacrifice something - whether it's meat or candy or watching television - because Christ sacrificed his life, Harris said.

"It's 40 days of intentional prayer and being in a relationship with God", Nakamura-Rengers said.

Mardi Gras is the day of indulgence preceding the more somber Lenten season which starts with Ash Wednesday.

The central message is from Genesis, a reminder of human mortality and dependence on God.

"The church doesn't really require us to do very much fasting during the year, but one of the prime days is Ash Wednesday", Blair said. "That applies to anybody".

"Father Richard Hall will be celebrating the mass for us. Christ is alive and we'll be raised from the dead with him".

Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, suggested that the festivals might not be so different in character after all - but nevertheless suggested moving St Valentine's Day celebrations to this evening. Other Christian denominations make fasting optional, with the main focus being on repentance.

"Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God and the second is to love our neighbour".

Valentine's Day may be named after a saint, but this clash on the calendar poses a problem for many Christians who abstain from eating meat during Lent.

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