Valentine’s Day, once rooted in the celebration of love, now often coincides with secular festivities, offering chocolates, flowers, and romantic gestures. However, for Catholics observing the start of Lent with Ash Wednesday, the day calls for fasting and penance.
A Reddit user raised the question on the Subreddit R/Catholicism, inquiring about fellow believers’ strategies for marking both occasions within their families.
For those upholding Ash Wednesday, considerations ranged from celebrating Valentine’s before or after, to organizing gatherings with friends or family on alternate days.
However, some preferred a modest observance on February 14 itself, combining a single full meal post-Mass with the spirit of love and sacrifice.
Father Dustin Dought of the Secretariat of Divine Worship provided clarity, emphasizing the allowance for one regular-sized meal on Ash Wednesday while maintaining the spirit of fasting.
While some chose to move Valentine’s festivities to Fat Tuesday, others saw the opportunity to practice charity and communal penance on Ash Wednesday, aligning the love-themed holiday with the traditions of Lent.
Overall, the faithful community approached the dilemma with a blend of devotion, flexibility, and a focus on both spiritual reflection and love during the unique alignment of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday in 2024.
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