Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy St. Valentine's Day - Nothing Says I Love You, Like Hearing I Am Sorry, Again!

I fought the Flu Bug this weekend and am now off the canvas. Wobbly, bruised, dizzier than a gnat in an air-shaft, but back on my pins; rather, my broad manly rump is in this seat and my stubby digits are pounding the keyboard.

Happy St. Valentine Day! Love means saying you're sorry -over and over again. In the spirit of reconciliation that signals true love, allow me to offer this revisit to the theme.

If Love means 'Never Having to Say You're Sorry,' then the Irish are screwed, blued and tattooed.

Jesus, I am Sorry about 86 times a day and before 8AM.

I have a pluperfect penchant for missteps, malfunctions, maledictions, and malpractice; but, I run empty on malice.

My misdeeds tend to be sins of omission - Omit thought, planning or the feelings of another. I am Sorry. To paraphrase Boxing Great Billy Conn upon losing to Joe Louis after dominating the Champ the whole fight only to be knocked out for not being cautious, 'What's the Point of Being Irish If You Can't Be Sorry ( Stupid)?'

Celto-centrist I am not. However, there was an interesting story about the recent findings in Dublin, Ireland. ( click my post title)

It appears that St. Valentine, who received no goods or services in exchange for the flowers, sweets and posted Love notes worldwide to morrow, was buried in Dublin ( re-interred more correctly) in the last century. This from Irish News and Events correspondent Dermot O'Gara

Was St Valentine a true blue Dub?
by Dermot O'Gara

JUST about everybody knows that St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers. You may have known that he was a priest in Rome in the third century, and if you're really on top of your game, you may even have been aware that he died in jail, but you probably didn't know that his final resting place is Dublin.

In fact the good priests of the Carmelite Order have been looking after his remains in their priory in Whitefriar St, just off Aungier St in Dublin, for over 160 years.

We have a good deal of information about St Valentine, but separating the fact from the legend is a bit like trying to separate a teenage couple at a school disco.

Fertility festival
It seems he was martyred in 269, supposedly for marrying couples against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II who felt that single men made better soldiers. Legend would have it that he died for his faith on February 14th of that year, and that this is why we celebrate him on that day. However, it's likely that the fact that we celebrate St Valentine at this time of year is more to do with the ancient Roman spring fertility festival of Lupercalia, which like many other pagan holidays was christianised when in 498 Pope Gelasius decreed that February 14th would be St Valentine's Day.

But how did a Roman Martyr, who had never even set foot in what was later to become an island of saints and scholars, end up in a Dublin church.

In the 1820' and 30's, a Carmelite priest by the name of John Spratt had earned a reputation for his work with the destitute citizens of Dublin's Liberties. A man of apparently boundless energy, Spratt started the building process of the Carmelite church in nearby Whitefriar St in 1825.

Ten years later, he was invited to speak at the Jesuit Church in Rome, the Gesu. The elite of Rome came to hear him, including representatives of Pope Gregory XVI. As a token of recognition of the work of Spratt, the Pope ordered the exhumation of the remains of St Valentine from St Hippolytus cemetery near Rome to be shipped to Whitefriar St Church, in Dublin.

In November 1836, the remains were received with great pomp and ceremony, but with the death of Spratt some years later, the remains ceased to be of major public interest.

Some 40 years ago however, they were restored to the public eye having gathered dust for decades in the nether regions of the priory, and are now featured in a purpose-built shrine in the church itself.

This year on February 14th, at 11am and 3.15pm, as has become customary, there will be a special celebration of St Valentine in the place where he now rests, Whitefriar St Church. Carmelite priest, Fr Tony McKenny will celebrate mass and conduct a ring blessing ceremony for engaged and married couples.

People I Love often hear I am sorry.

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