St. Valentine's Day 2018... Cancelled!


Before you go out and get all those sweets for your sweetie, let it be known, Valentine's Day, or properly, "The Feast of St. Valentine" does not exist this year. Sure your calendar that you bought at the mall kiosk may indeed say "Valentine's Day," but it is wrong.

I often half-seriously and half-light-heartedly say that the Church has a different calendar than the rest of the world. For instance, the Church has it's New Year's Day on the First Sunday in Advent, or "Ad Te Levavi" for those who like those old Latin names for Sundays. Valentine's Day is properly a feast in the Church. Specifically it is a "feast of the third class."

From the General Rubrics of the Liturgical Day:

Feasts are those liturgical days on which the Church's public worship celebrates, in a particular way, the mysteries of our Lord, or the lives of the Saints. Feasts are of the first, second, or third class...

In other words, not all feasts are created equal. Feasts fo the First and Second Class are generally associated with the life of Jesus Christ or feasts of the Apostles or the Holy Family. First class feasts take precedence over whatever else is on that day. Second class feasts get moved when something else takes precedence. For example, the Annunciation is when the Church celebrates the angel Gabriel visiting Mary nine months before she gave birth, but since March 25 almost always falls during Lent, this feast often gets moved until after Easter.

But then there are those third class feasts. The "everything else" feasts. St. Valentine's feast day falls in this category. Third class feasts just disappear for the year. This year, Ash Wednesday is on February 14. Ash Wednesday is one of those days in the Church year which takes the highest precedence (technically it is called a Feria of the First Class), so Valentines Day 2018 just doesn't exist.

So good news! You don't need a day to tell those you love that you love them. Go ahead, buy those sweets. Go on a date. Put the kids to bed a little early and spend some time without screens, just the two of you.

Though, as a pastor, I can tell you, what better thing can you do than receive the Lord's Gifts together on this day? After all, sharing the love of God together in worship is the greatest love you both can receive.