Catholics urged to practice faith as Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday

Catholics urged to practice faith as Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is a day when the Catholic faithful receive ashes on their foreheads, signaling the start of the Lenten season. FILE PHOTO

MANILA – With Valentine’s Day and the beginning of Lent falling on the same date, a Catholic archbishop reminded the faithful that the obligations of Ash Wednesday still apply.

For the first time in 73 years, Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday, an obligatory day of prayer, charity, fasting, and abstinence for Catholics.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan urged the faithful to focus on the significance of Ash Wednesday and to “reflect on love and what it really means”.

Cheap love to true love

“Let us move from cheap love to true love. Let us fill Lent with love. Let us fill Valentine’s Day with the Lenten spirit,” said the prelate.

“Love is best expressed by sacrifice. Love is best shown by suffering with your loved one or suffering instead of your loved one,” he said.

Aside from Ash Wednesday, every person 14 years of age or older are urged to abstain from meat and items made with meat on Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.

Every person between the age of 18 and 60, meanwhile, are required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Purpose of fasting

According to the archbishop, fasting and abstinence are “acts of love” and “not exercises of will power.”

“The food we do not eat or the meat we abstain from must be given to those who practically fast everyday due to extreme poverty, enduring inhuman hunger,” explained.

“We eat less so the hungry can have more. We enjoy less so those who suffer may receive some comfort,” he added.

Ash Wednesday is a day when the Catholic faithful receive ashes on their foreheads, marking the start of the 40-day Lenten season. CBCPNews