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The Origins of St. Valentine’s Day

There is much speculation regarding St. Valentine. There are at least three St. Valentine mentioned in Catholic writings and tradition. The first was a priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecuted Christians during the reign of Claudius II. He was thrown in jail and later beheaded on Feb. 14 and buried on the Flaminian Way, all because he would not denounce his love of God. The second was a Catholic bishop of Terni who was beheaded, because he would not denounce his Christianity also during the reign of Claudius II. The third representation of Saint Valentine is that of a priest caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted.

Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.

Although the mid-February holiday celebrating love and lovers remains wildly popular, the confusion over its origins led the Catholic Church, in 1969, to drop St. Valentine’s Day from the Roman calendar of official, worldwide Catholic feasts.

A Valentine Prayer

I said a Valentine prayer for you
and asked the Lord above
to fill your heart and bless your soul
with the precious gift of love.

I asked Him for sincere love
the kind that’s meant to stay
just like the generous love
you give to those you touch each day.

I prayed for love from family
and from every cherished friend
then I asked the Lord to give you
His love that knows no end.