When is Lent 2018? The Christian tradition begins on Valentine's Day

Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day coincide this year

Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day coincide this year

Lent is a penitential season of prayer, starting with Ash Wednesday and continuing until Holy Saturday.

During Ash Wednesday services, the Rev. Jones will rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers.

"The Feast of St. Valentine is also the patronal feast of our parish, but even that being the case, liturgically Ash Wednesday has greater precedence", Soseman explained.

Ash Wednesday and Lent are observed particularly in Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran and United Methodist faith communities, although other Christian denominations often participate. Valentine's Day: that dinner? Meat on the menu.

Worshiper Felipe Izquierdo prays after receiving ashes on his forehead during Ash Wednesday Mass at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Virginia Gardens, Fla. Dispensation would be special permission to not have to follow church teaching on that day.

The Rev. Tracie Ashley of Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 5115 Cortez Road, Bradenton, has chose to celebrate Valentine's Day with her husband of almost 25 years, The Rev. Erick Ashley of Grace Community Church in the Tampa suburb of Lithia, by dining out this weekend, four days before the actual Valentine's Day, and devoting Valentine's Day to personal reflection.

Okeke said that she would participate in the reception of the ash in her church on February 14. The one originally celebrated is named St. Valentine (Valentinus) of Rome, a priest who was arrested for marrying Christian couples and aiding Christians being persecuted.

The ashes represent two Biblical themes. Heartbreak, unrequited love, the loss of someone they held dear, all the reasons Valentine's Day surfaces like a cruel reminder of what is missing in life.

Generally speaking, women tend to look forward to Valentine's Day, which is usually marked with affectionate gift giving and expressions of love.

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Stansberry said some people have indicated they will have their Valentine's dinner with meat included on either the Tuesday before or the Thursday after. Love doesn't have to be extravagant when people do simple things with intentional care. You simply did not realise the self-giving, self-purifying component which authentic Valentine celebrations should bring. The pastor said attendance on this holy day typically surpasses even Christmas.

He urged the congregation to focus on the significance of Ash Wednesday, and shift from the pleasures that come with celebrating the worldly day of love. "It's an opportunity to deepen our love for God and therefore deepen our love of our neighbor and to serve our neighbor with more sincerity", said Sister Esther Mary.

"If Halloween fell on December 25, we would celebrate Christmas, not Halloween", he said.

Fuller describes Lent as a "time of kind of rejuvenation and refocusing your life on your relationship with the Lord".

"Unless we do something different, unless we go out of our way, we're liable to let the "everydayness" of our lives swamp what's important and central", he said.

"It is not only on Valentine's Day that is about showing love to your spouse alone or others". The relationship between the two is that they are about love and giving. Had it coincided with the start of Lent I could at least have told myself I was ignoring the day due to piety rather than loneliness.

Lent is a time of fasting, but the degree of this fasting varies by tradition and sect.

He said that he always show love to anyone around him because God is love.

I invite you to join me in my weekly Monday abstinence from the internet and social media.

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