Catholics must go meatless this Valentine's Day

A Catholic priest pens the Anglican Archbishop’s prayer book

"It should not just end at this lent season". A minister or priest marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes in the shape of a cross.

The Abbey will have Ash Wednesday services at 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., but clergy will be on hand all day to impose ashes.

Ayana Pinkney, 12, talks about what she's giving up for Lent. It takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too.

"It's a lovely convergence this year because the season of Lent is not really meant to be six weeks of suffering but really that reflection on that we've received God's love", says Ann Hulquist, the Senior Pastor at Denver's Augustana Lutheran Church. It was then that the "council", according to Bible Info, agreed on a 40-day fasting period to celebrate Lent. A period of prayer and fasting, Christians will often abstain from certain pleasures during this time.

However, this year, coinciding with the beginning of Lent is Valentine's Day, traditionally a day of excess, when gifts of flowers and candy are lavished upon those special people in our lives. I would go to school and see people with crosses on their foreheads which opened up conversations about our shared faith.

Easter can fall on a different day each year depending on the moon; it falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. It marks the day of devotional sacrifice.

The week before Lent (Cheesefare week) they give up meat and other animal products, except dairy and eggs. That is why there is an emphasis on fish fry dinners this time of year. Lenten customs and traditions vary by denomination but many Christians use the time to intentionally increase time in prayer and meditation to help them grow as Christians. But today, it is celebrated across the globe irrespective of religion and region as a festival of love.

The archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, agreed that Ash Wednesday had precedence, adding that the coincidence of St. Valentine's Day "would not lift for us the duty of fasting and self-denial". These are some things you should avoid (if you subscribe to the aforementioned beliefs) and some things that are perfectly OK.

In the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, the season of Lent begins with the celebration of Ash Wednesday.

"So it is an invitation to truly live as God wants us to live - with joy and love and trying to grow in holiness and share God's mercy and compassion to others".

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