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Popular 'holidays' fall on holy days

14 February 2018

Several local churches will offer early morning Ashes to Go for busy morning commuters on Wednesday, Feb. 14, the first day of Lent. I would go to school and see people with crosses on their foreheads which opened up conversations about our shared faith.

Valentine's Day was named for Saint Valentine, a righteous man who was brutally martyred for performing marriages for those who were forbidden to marry, and for ministering to Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, which is observed for 40 days (till Holy Thursday) symbolizing the time (40 days and nights) Jesus Christ spent in the desert before he was crucified. "Sacrificing candy for a day would be a great sign of love for all that the Lord Jesus has done for us". In a video refereced by The New York Times, Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo tells his parishioners, "Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the only two days of the whole year on which fasting and abstinence are required..."

His advice to Catholics for this Valentine's Day Ash Wednesday: send cards or flowers; maybe indulge in one piece of candy; and avoid meat.

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Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting.

A full schedule of Ash Wednesday services at the Cathedral can be found on the cathedral's website. They are supposed to fast, pray and shun meat these days. Fasting is a discipline of abstaining from something for a period of time for spiritual benefit.

Ash Wednesday services often involve blessing ashes made from burning the palm fronds from the previous year's Palm Sunday, and spreading them on the foreheads of the faithful.

The most important thing about Valentine's Day is showing the person you love how much they mean to you.

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Catholics aged 18 to 60 are obliged to fast or to eat less on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday which is March 30 this year.

"The Lenten season is a period of fasting and Christians are encouraged to intensify prayers, abstain from their sins and give alms".

Today, Deacon plans to enjoy a fish fry at home with her fiancée, Jess Schneider, who grew up Catholic.

"It would be convenient because sometime due to school or work, you can miss Ash Wednesday", Escobedo said.

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"It should not just end at this lent season".

Popular 'holidays' fall on holy days