Do Catholic churches have any special services on St. Valentine’s Day and/or St. Patrick’s Day? I know these are real saints, so do churches actually do anything out of the ordinary on these days? (special prayers, ceremonies, etc.)?
The Roman Catholic Church dropped the celebration of the Feast of St. Valentine in 1969. I’m not sure why. February 14 is the Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
March 17 is still celebrated in the Catholic Church as the Feast of St. Patrick.
For the record, neither St. Valentine’s Day nor St. Patrick’s Day was ever a day of obligation, so no Catholic ever HAD to go to Mass on those days.
If a Catholic DOES go to Mass on one of those days, the priest MAY choose to make note of the day in his homily, but there are no special rituals or prayers associated with those days.
Just to clarify what everyone else is saying …
We don’t celebrate St. Francis’ day, St. Igantius’ day, St. Anne’s Day. St. Bridgit’s Day, St. Stephen’s Day (Two days before my birthday – I think we should!), St. Claire’s Day, etc.
So why should we celebrate the feast days of these two saints? Hallmark doesn’t set church policy.
Although I recall that in Boston the archbishop will usually waive the “no meat on Fridays during Lent” rule if St. Patrick’s day falls on a Friday, to allow Catholics (the Catholic population in Boston is probably 75% Irish) to have corned beef and cabbage. Also, in Boston the schools are closed for “Evacuation Day” on March 17th, in commemoration of the British being kicked out in 1776. Or at least that’s the official story.
Why not combine the two holidays and call it “Inebriated Fornication Day”? It could be symbolized with the image of a leprechaun hitting on a drunken cherub.
Actually, if I’m not mistaken, in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is seen as a holy day, one to be spent in church-at least by Irish Catholics. I don’t think they spend it getting drunk and whooping it up. Well, at least not until AFTER Mass.
In St. Valentine’s Church, in Rome,I’ve
heard* they do indeed specially mark his day.
On Feb. 14 they put his skull, in a big bowl of roses, on display. I haven’t seen it, but the description is strikingly reminiscent of Grateful Dead iconography.
*The guidebook I read this in is quite old, so maybe they don’t do it anymore.
That is because he is their patron saint. I know Ascention of Mary day is a Holy day of Obligation in the U.S. – but I don’t know if that is only because Mary is our matron saint. (Probably not.)
A lot of it depends on the individual parish. At my home parish of St. Coleman’s in Cleveland (a primarily Irish church, at least in its roots) the St. Paddy’s Day mass is a huge to-do, with bagpipers, parades, and standing-room only clear out into the streets, and is also the single biggest chunk of income for the church in the year. At nearby Sagrada Familia parish, they don’t do anything special for St. Pat’s, but have nearly as large an extravaganza on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which St. Coleman’s just about ignores. Very few saints have Churchwide traditions associated with them.