Wednesday is Valentine’s Day, a vacation broadly noticed by indulging in one thing romantic and candy with the individual you like. However many Catholics and different Christians throughout Southern California shall be receiving a cross manufactured from ash on their foreheads that day as a result of it’s Ash Wednesday, whose vibe is something however indulgent.

How are you purported to reconcile these two observances? The steerage depends upon which spiritual establishment you communicate to.

Within the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is meant to remind us of our mortality and the necessity for reconciliation with God. It additionally marks the start of the penitential Lenten season.

On Wednesday, practising Catholics quick, abstain from consuming meat (on each Friday for six weeks afterward as properly) and select a favourite meals or pursuit, resembling sweet or alcoholic drinks, to keep away from for 40 days.

Fasting and avoiding meat might hamper some Valentine’s plans, however spiritual leaders advised The Instances that parishioners can nonetheless have a good time the day with out breaking their Lenten obligations.

When fasting — which within the Catholic Church means having only one full meal and two snacks that don’t add as much as a full meal — you possibly can have the Valentine’s dinner as your meal, stated Dorian Llywelyn, director for Ignatian Spirituality at Loyola Marymount College.

“Ash Wednesday is way extra essential than Valentine’s Day as a result of [the latter] is a contemporary growth and principally business,” Llywelyn stated.

Up to now, spiritual leaders have issued a dispensation or exemption from sure features of Ash Wednesday in an effort to take part in a cultural celebration. For instance, when Ash Wednesday and Lunar New Yr fell on the identical day in 2005.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese issued an announcement saying those that wished to have a good time Lunar New Yr that day might carry out their Ash Wednesday obligation of fasting on Saturday.

The archdiocese isn’t slicing parishioners any slack this yr, nevertheless.

Valentine’s Day isn’t a cultural vacation, Father Juan Ochoa of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles stated. The unique Saint Valentine, a third-century Roman martyr, was honored within the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar till 1969, Ochoa stated, when the church gave the Feb. 14 feast day as an alternative to Sts. Cyril and Methodius, brothers who’re credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet to transcribe scripture.

St. Cyril died on Feb. 14, 869, therefore his declare to that date.

St. Valentine was a Roman priest who married individuals in opposition to their mother and father’ needs and usually carried out secret weddings as a result of the {couples} cherished one another, Ochoa stated.

“Valentine’s Day is about love and Ash Wednesday is about making ready ourselves to have a good time the eagerness and resurrection of Jesus Christ, [so] it’s additionally about love,” he stated.

Worship companies are additionally held on Ash Wednesday in Anglican, Lutheran, Episcopal and a few Protestant church buildings.

The Rev. Canon Melissa McCarthy of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles stated her church’s recommendation is to get your ashes after which go have a good time Valentine’s Day with the individual you like, whomever that individual could also be.

As an alternative choice to giving up an indulgence, McCarthy stated one risk may be to tackle a brand new religious apply, resembling meditation, doing a centering prayer or attending Bible research.

Ash Wednesday has been a holy day of obligation within the Catholic Church — a compulsory day of church attendance — but it surely’s non-compulsory within the Episcopal Church.

Whereas many parishioners within the Episcopal Church take part, McCarthy’s hope is that individuals additionally see it as a manner “to take inventory of the place you’re in your life, relationships and relationship with God.”

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