It was Valentine’s Day during my freshman year of college. I was a sacristan for my dorm, and I was eagerly preparing things for Mass in the sacristy. Fr. Bill, a jovial Australian priest who was well-loved around campus and in Lewis Hall, arrived for Mass.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Father! Are there any special readings for St. Valentine?” I eagerly asked.
“Listen, Sport,” he said, in his Australian accent, calling me the affectionate nickname he used for all of the students in his life. “St. Valentine, poor chap, he isn’t on the liturgical calendar anymore.”
“What? What do you mean? Why?! Are you sure?”
“Well, you see, Sport…we just don’t know much about his life. But we can celebrate good old Cyril and Methodius today.”
Needless to say, I was disappointed.
St. Valentine – Still a Saint?
St. Valentine was one of many saints who were removed from the liturgical calendar in 1969, due to (as Fr. Bill tried to gently explain to me) a lack of concrete knowledge about his life. He is, however, still considered a saint in the Church.
Although we know little about his life, some of the stories that have been passed down to us are about his secretly marrying couples in defiance of Roman mandates. As a priest, we certainly know that he would have married couples (and a holy enough priest to have been martyred, as other stories tell us). It is fitting that he is the patron saint of those who are in love, and now is a better time than any to invoke his intercession.
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