By Lydia O'Kane
Flower’s, chocolates, or perhaps dinner for two at a restaurant. Ring a bell? These are just some of the ways couples celebrate the feast of St Valentine on February 14th.
But this year The World Meeting of Families “is inviting couples to share special tokens of love with a difference.”
Think outside the chocolate box
Taking its cue from Pope Francis’ post synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), WMOF 2018 is inviting couples to “think outside the chocolate box” and mark the day in a number of different ways and have produced a book of gift tokens that people can give to their loved ones. This year’s invitations include, a technology free evening together, time together to pray, a hand-in-hand walk together, a family outing, and a prayer that those looking for love will find that special someone.
Speaking about the initiative, the Communications Manager for the World Meeting of Families, Brenda Drumm said, “Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia refers directly to St Valentine’s day as an opportunity for couples to celebrate the importance of romantic love by gifting time and attention to one another rather than simply relying on the more commercial or traditional approaches to the Saint’s day and it was a sense of us reclaiming the Christian and the meaning of love behind the day, for ourselves, for marriage, for couples.”
St Valentine and the Dublin connection
For the people of Dublin this patron saint of couples in love holds special significance. St Valentine’s Holy relics are interred in the Carmelite Church in Whitefriar Street, in the city and as Brenda Drumm explained, “for the last number of years in the Catholic Church in Ireland we have used St Valentine’s day as an opportunity to celebrate an engaged couple. We would invite an engaged couple to come along and we’d have a blessing of an engaged couple at the shrine.”
“If you’re ever in Whitefriar Street (church) there is a constant stream of couples coming in; I’ve seen couples getting engaged at the shrine; you see people coming back to celebrate 30,40 50 years of marriage”, she said.
The St Valentine gift tokens are free and are available in parishes across Ireland as part of the WMOF2018 ‘Amoris Let’s Talk Family! Let’s be Family!’programme.