Valentine’s Day story
The three St. Valentines
The rituals of Valentine’s Day began as early as Roman times in AD 269. Due to the three priests, all of whom were martyred by Emperor Claudius II, there is some confusion about how the rituals began. The emperor had decided that marriage would make a soldier less effective and decreed that no soldier would be married. Valentinus married men in secret and when discovered he was killed.
Another priest, Valentinus, fell in love with a woman who visited him while he was imprisoned. On the day of his death, February 14, 269, he sent a card declaring his love and that it was her Valentine’s Day. It was believed that this was the first Valentine’s card. Later, hundreds of years later, Pope Gelasius made the day of his death Valentine’s Day.
These Catholic beginnings are joined by Christian traditions and include signs of love, cards, and flowers. Despite these facts, Valentine’s Day is not a religious holiday that has its roots not in the church but in fertility rites. People believe that birds flew away on February 14th to mate. The day is supposed to make statements about eternal love, with the end being the sanctity of marriage.
Previously, in the fourth century, Lupercalia was celebrated with fertility rites on February 15th. Single women enter their names in an urn that is to be drawn by single men from the region. These women would partner for six months. After that time, the union often became permanent with marriage. Later that date was made a holiday to be celebrated with cards and flowers.
These events with Saint Valentinus cemented February 14th as something special and associated the date with romance and religious love.
Story of Father George William Rutler
In later days, another religious Catholic figure, Father George Rutler, became famous, admired, and powerful because of his years of priestly activities. In 1988 he started a weekly television program that was seen worldwide. He wrote 30 books, lectured, published articles in magazines and made documentaries.
He began as a bishop and served as an episcopal priest for nine years. He went to Rome and became a Catholic in 1980. In 1981 he was ordained a priest at St. Patrick’s. Then he was assigned to St. Michael’s Church.
Throughout his life, Father Rutler has been a fellow, PhD in theology from Dartmouth University and continuing to earn degrees from other universities. He became a board member of several companies. The number of honors, certificates in theology and received an award from a future President of the Governor of Texas, George Bush.