Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/15/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

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.


By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

3/15/2013 (2 years 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'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

3 Biblical ways to achieve small victories in our Walk with God Watch

Image of Walk with God.


Life struggles are inevitable but to look at them more than just a bump in the road is like putting rocks in your backpack before a hike. God doesn't want that - our journey to Him is meant to shape us in a way He planned for us. Little by little, we achieve victories ... continue reading

Families 'free us from the sea of loneliness and indifference,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of After recently concluding a series of catechesis on the family as a lead-in to this year's synod gathering, Pope Francis explained that he would start a new catechesis on the

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Family rescues us from indifference and loneliness and teaches us the essentials of life, Pope Francis said - adding that as the family of God, the Church has the same role and must evaluate how to live this out. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "Like Saint ... continue reading

Respecting life the Gospel way Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

For the sake of our salvation, we need to pay serious attention, and act with purpose, to what Jesus teaches here in Matthew's Gospel: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will ... continue reading

Young girl blessed by Pope Francis during visit to U.S. believes the 'miracle has begun' Watch

Image of Julia Bruzzese was blessed by Pope Francis.


12-year-old Julia Bruzzese, who has been experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, suffered from sudden paralysis that doctors are still unable to explain. However, following a blessing from Pope Francis, the young girl seems to be healing. NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) ... continue reading

'God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone,' Pope Francis says of marriage Watch

Image of Pope Francis' comments were made during his Oct. 4 Mass marking the official opening of this year's Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis formally opened the synod of bishops Sunday, telling participants that the union between a man and woman is the foundation of God's plan for the family, and a solution to the many forms of loneliness in today's world. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading

FULL TEXT: Family synod prayer vigil, Pope Francis's full address Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Presiding over a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis led the beginning of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, at the Vatican. Drawing tens of thousands of the faithful, many were present in the Square since the afternoon for a ... continue reading

Vatican issues statement in regards to monsignor's declaration of homosexuality Watch

Image of


The director of the Holy See press office has issued a statement in response to Vatican official Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa's declaration in a recent interview that he is homosexual and has a boyfriend. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Msgr. Charamsa, 43, granted a ... continue reading

Guardian Angels are always by our sides, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Pope Francis explained that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God could have left them to fend for themselves. Instead, as an act of love and mercy, the Lord sent with them an angel to guide and protect them.


Each of us has a Guardian Angel who, acting on behalf of God, advises us and protects us from evil, if we only listen to him, Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass on Friday. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "May we ask the Lord for the grace of this ... continue reading

Top 5 Bible verses to turn to when you're angry Watch

Image of What does the Bible have to say about anger?

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What makes you angry? Maybe you don't like the way your boss talks to you at work or your spouse spends too much money. What do you do when you feel anger coming on? Who do you turn to? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When we get angry we can say or do things we ... continue reading

Megachurch Pastor's new book tells people to 'get over themselves' Watch

Image of Pastor Kyle Idleman (YouTube).


Megachurch Pastor Kyle Idleman claims that to live life, "everyone simply needs to get over themselves" to truly "experience abundant life with Jesus," a theory he promotes in his new book The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins. LOS ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2
13 Priests, put on sackcloth and lament! You ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 9:2-3, 6, 16, 8-9
6 the enemy is wiped out -- mere ruins for ever -- ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:15-26
15 But some of them said, 'It is through Beelzebul, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 9th, 2015 Image

Sts. Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius
October 9: The first mention we have of these three martyrs who died around ... Read More