St. Valentine

Dear Friends,

St. Valentine’s Day is a tradition that stems from the memorial day of St. Valentine, a priest martyr of the Early Church.   There many legends and stories of St. Valentine but what is known is that he suffered a cruel death and while in prison exchanged letters with his family, especially a younger sister and sign his letters “from your Valentine”.  However, in our day this sacred feast of a glorious martyr has become secularized that we rarely remember that Valentine was a martyr of the Church.  

Since the new calendar was issued after the Second Vatican Council, February 14, is now the celebration of two brothers who evangelized the Slavs in the in the 9th century, Cyril and Methodius.    They were the first missionaries to bring the Catholic faith to the Poles, Bohemians (Czechs), the Moravians (Slovaks), Croats, Serbs, Ruthenians, Ukrainians and Russians.   The brothers were Greek in origin from the New Testament city of Thessolonica.  In order to preach and catechize the Slavs, Cyril developed an alphabet to transmit not only the word of God but also the celebration of the Liturgy.   His linguistic invention is known as the Cyrillic alphabet still used today.   This wasn’t without controversy as many believed that they were committing heresy by translating both the Scriptures and the Mass into the native Slavic languages.   Ultimately they brothers’ triumphed and faithfully served as witnesses and teachers of the faith.

As we prepare to enter into the sacred Season of Lent let us commit ourselves learning more about our faith.   What St. Cyril and St. Methodius wanted for the Slavic people is available to us today, our faith transmitted to us in our language.   I would like to encourage you to spend some time during Lent to read your Bible.   Time spent reading the scriptures is never time wasted.   Consider the daily readings or the readings of the Sunday Mass.  You can also take up one of the books of the Bible, might I recommend the Book of Genesis, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, the Book of Job or one of the four Gospels. 

Another way to devote yourself to prayer and learning is considering reading one of the Spiritual Classics such as the works of St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis de Sales, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Louis de Montfort, the works of G.K. Chesteron or C.S. Lewis, Archbishop Fulton Sheen or St. Josemaria Escriva. 

Sts. Cyril and Methodius were zealous teachers, in the spirit of their devotion to the Lord Jesus let us commit to learning about our faith.   Let us find that zeal and love that St. Valentine had for the Lord and his Holy Church so that we too may share in the crown of victory that he now enjoys, our eternal home in the House of the Father. 

In the Lord,

Fr. Vasquez

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