Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Feast days of both saints falls during time of sacrifice.

For some, this will be an inconvenient Lent. St. Valentine's Day, typically celebrated with sweets, falls a day after Lent begins.However, for Irish Americans who like corned beef and suds on St Patrick's Day, that holiday which often falls on a Friday, which is a day of abstinence, the get a reprieve this year. March 17, 2013 falls on a Sunday when Lenten fasting regulations are dispensed. 

Catholic first, a Valentine second.

Catholic first, a Valentine second.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/15/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Catholic, Lent, St. Valentine's, St. Patrick's, Friday, Irish, devotion, abstinence


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Two popular American holidays sometimes to fall on inconvenient days for Catholics. St. Valentine's Day is the day after Ash Wednesday and St. Patrick's Day often falls on a Friday. However, this year the Irish (and we are all Irish on St. Patricks Day) get a break. It falls on a Sunday in 2013, when Lenten fasting is dispensed with.

For Catholics who enjoy celebrating these holidays with indulgences of various sorts, the desire to religiously celebrate these days may conflict with genuine religious devotion.

Lent isn't intended to be convenient. In fact, convenience may be the antithesis of the spirit of the season. Lent is a season of sacrifice so that spiritual renewal can happen. It's much like pruning a tree so new growth can occur.

Part of that pruning process includes prayer, fasting, and abstinence. Many people who faithfully embark on these devotions report greater happiness and spiritual fulfillment. In other words, one enjoys a greater reward later in exchange for their sacrifice in the here and now.

This also applies to holidays.

St. Valentine's Day is a secular holiday, in addition to being the feast day for the popular saint. It is the secular trappings which are popularly celebrated. The giving of flowers, sweets, and other romantic gestures that usually cost small fortunes, are products of the modern age of marketing and commercialism. These are not designed to improve one's spirituality, but are instead designed to part you from your money.

For this reason, couples should consider a different devotion, one that may genuinely enhance their love for one another. It may seem a bit odd, but attending mass, or performing an act of service, or simply spending quiet time together make for good alternatives that can be quite romantic while remaining faithful to the season.

For men, you could consider staying in and making dinner at home and watching a romantic movie with your spouse. This in itself, may be considered a Lenten sacrifice for husbands, although we do not yet have this on proper ecclesiastical authority, so don't take our word for it.

In some cases, you may be paired with someone who insists on celebrating anyway, in exception to the spirit of the season. While you may not be under any formal obligation to refrain from anything on Valentine's Day, if you feel that maintaining your sacrifice is meaningful to you and your partner does not, then you may wish to consider if you are equally yoked in your relationship.

When it comes to St. Patrick's Day, the number of Catholics inclined to break their Lenten abstinence may be fewer in number, as Americans of Irish heritage celebrate in the form of consuming corned beef and sudsy beverages. It is an American thing. Still, it is significant. It is also a moot issue in 2013 when March 17 falls on a Sunday. Lenten fasting regulations are dispensed with on Sundays. 

However, it is helpful to remember that abstinence, which characterizes the whole season, does not mean one has license to indulge in all you can eat. Abstinence is a more general concept which includes refraining from excess.

Americans, unlike Irish celebrants across the Atlantic, tend to take advantage of the holiday as an excuse to consume large quantities of alcohol.

The holiday, as celebrated in America, is more an occasion of nationalistic pride, or heritage, than a true religious devotion. As a religious occasion, the devotion to the Saint includes prayers and feasting. Consumption which is permitted, should be reasonable.

One should not use the feast day of a saint as an excuse to break from the spirit of our Lenten devotion to Christ.

That said, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate your heritage on St. Patrick's Day. Attendance at mass is an extremely Irish way to start the day. Wearing green, watching a parade, even dying the local water green (provided it is lawful), can be part of the holiday without entering into excess.

We must remember, that whether Lent is upon us or not, many of our holidays have strong secular traditions built around them. These secular traditions often intrude upon our religious ones, and even crowd them out. Christmas quickly comes to mind.

We may be romantic lovers, we may be Irish, but first and foremost, we are Catholic; We are Christians devoted to God. Where should our first allegiance be if not with God?


NOTE: The original article errantly stated that St Patrick's day fell on a Friday. It often does during Lent. It has been edited to note the correction.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis asks new bishops to avoid self-promotion, to love their congregations instead Watch

Image of Pope Francis meets with bishops for an audience. The Holy Father had important advice for a group of new bishops yesterday.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has admonished a new generation of bishops against seeking promotion and instead asked them to look after and love their congregations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During an address at the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis spoke to 138 ... continue reading


POPE IN ALBANIA: Pope Francis denounces religious militants during one-day trip Watch

Image of On his first trip as pope to a European country outside of Italy, Pope Francis made no direct reference to Islamic State militants who have seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his one-day trip to the chiefly Muslim nation of Albania, Pope Francis soundly denounced religious militants, declaring that no one act as the "armor of God." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Let no one consider themselves the 'armor' of God while planning ... continue reading


If Christ Has Not Been Raised Our Preaching and Our Faith is Empty Watch

Image of We too,you and me, will be raised from the dead. Only then will our redemption be complete. We are works in progress. However, that new life can begin even now for those with eyes of living faith, hearts filled with His presence, and minds renewed by the Light of the Truth which Jesus has fully revealed and imparts to those who love and follow Him.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When we learn to embrace the implications of that empty tomb, and allow grace to work within us, we are made ready for eternity - by living differently every day. The Resurrection provides a framework, a hermeneutic, a lens of meaning, for everything that happens ... continue reading


You Go Into the Vineyard Too! Every Christian Has a Vocation Watch

Image of Priesthood, Diaconate in Christ,consecrated or religious life,lay ecclesial movements, consecrated Christian marriage - every Baptized Christian has a vocation. We just have to learn to live it!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Church is a seed, sign and beginning of the kingdom, making the kingdom present in a world which is wounded by the effects of sin but waiting to be born anew. The Lord continues His work through us. We are the workers in His vineyard. It matters little what ... continue reading


Pope Francis at risk of an assassination attempt by Islamic State Watch

Image of There was an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981 by Turk Mehmet Ali Agca. That Pope later forgave his attacker.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis at risk of an assassination attempt by ISIL'Band of criminals' could have Pope Francis in its sights prior to his visits to Albania, TurkeyCatholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)Iraq's ambassador to the Holy See warns that there are credible threats against ... continue reading


Patriarchs ask faithful to help 'save Christianity in the Middle East' Watch

Image of Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan prayed during an ecumenical service in Washington last week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the Middle East urged Westerners to take action to help ensure that Christians and other minorities can remain in the region. "Christians are not (just) looking for humanitarian aid. They are looking for humanitarian ... continue reading


With just six months to live, news anchorman finds comfort with God Watch

Image of Dave Benton announced on his Illinois show that he had only six months left to live after a long battle with brain cancer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Illinois news anchorman with Champaign WCIA-TV shared heartbreaking news with his viewers on September 11, revealing that after a lengthy battle with cancer, he had only six months to live. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 51-year-old anchorman, Dave ... continue reading


Did a Catholic Online candle contribute to a miracle? Here's a yes!

Image of Did a prayer candle have a role in a recent miracle?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has received many comments thanking us for sharing the prayers of the faithful. Catholic Online has a vibrant prayer community and we are happy to report another miracle. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mika T.* sent an email to Catholic Online ... continue reading


Pope Francis denounces ongoing global conflict as 'piecemeal' World War III Watch

Image of Pope Francis, who has often condemned the concept of war in God's name, said it would be legitimate for the international community to use force to stop

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his visit to the Redipuglia monument, the resting place of 1000,000 Italian soldiers killed during World War I, Pope Francis condemned ongoing conflicts across the globe. "Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep. Even today, after the second ... continue reading


Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Watch

Image of Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D. is the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation.

By Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas,Ph.D., S.T.D.

Every cross borne by any believer in history gains meaning and becomes life-giving when it is brought into a relationship with the Cross, the Cross from which Jesus reigned as the King of Love and over which He triumphed in His glorious Resurrection.  The ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
1 Like flowing water is a king's heart in Yahweh's ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:19-21
19 His mother and his brothers came looking for him, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Padre Pio
September 23: Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter