No Valentine’s Day Exception On Ash Wednesday

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Bad news for Connecticut Roman Catholics hoping to enjoy a steak dinner, wine or chocolate on Valentine’s Day: There won’t be a pass on the obligations that begin that day with the start of Lent.

This year Ash Wednesday, the holy day that marks the beginning of the penitential 40-day season of Lent, falls on Valentine’s Day.

And although Feb. 14 marks the day that Roman Catholics honor a third-century martyr, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair explained that Ash Wednesday takes precedence because it is an obligatory day of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. Therefore, no dispensation, or special exception, will be granted for that day in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

“The church doesn’t really require us to do very much fasting during the year, but one of the prime days is Ash Wednesday,” Blair said. “Ash Wednesday is very particular. St. Valentine’s Day is not in the same real universal importance as Ash Wednesday. It’s not the kind of day when we would give a dispensation.”

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