For the first time since 1945, Valentine’s Day falls this year on Ash Wednesday. Some have wondered whether a dispensation from the standard laws of fast and abstinence would be granted.
Out of respect for the importance of Ash Wednesday in the lives of so many – including our non-Catholic brethren – and the way this custom underlines the importance of the Lenten season at its outset, a dispensation will not be given.
Those who wish to celebrate Valentine’s Day may fittingly do so the day before (Mardi Gras) or on another non-penitential day. The good Lord, who suffered so much out of love for us, will surely reward our fidelity and sacrifice! A blessed Lenten season to all!
Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, S.T.D.
Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama