In his story, which came from Father Frank O'Gara of Whitefriars Church in Dublin, Ireland, Kithcart says St. Valentine was a priest during the rule of Rome under the Emperor Claudius. While Christianity was not nearly as actively persecuted in Ireland as in mainland Europe, violations of the Emperor's edicts were dealt with harshly. One such edict forbid the marriage of young people, largely due to the belief that young men being married would be a detriment to Rome's need for large numbers of soldiers. It was believed that a soldier who was married would be less committed to his duties requiring great risk of losing his life and many still believe that today. But Valentine knew that love of a man and woman should be allowed since it was a natural and healthy state of life with the commitment of true love between the two. And remember, Rome had very loose morals and thought nothing of polygamy and sexual gratification by unmarried persons, views that were naturally abhorrent to Valentine. So, he violated those rules and secretly married many young men and women and was eventually caught and imprisoned with harsh punishment. While there, a Roman representative, Asterius, was sent to judge him and adjudicate the ultimate decision and he even became a Christians himself when Valentine healed his blind daughter. When he was eventually sentenced to a slow death ending in decapitation, the story goes that he sent a note to that young lady who could now see, signing it from your Valentine.
As I mentioned earlier, it is one of several stories about the mysterious St. Valentine, and the church led by Father O'Gara is one claiming to be the burial ground for the saint. Whether it is true or not, it does send a message of love and devotion which points not only to the sacrament of Christian marriage as sacred, but also to the courage and conviction for the faith that St. Valentine displayed and lived bu. It is certainly worthy of the special day that is named for him, for it gives those who love one another a great opportunity to do something special to show the value of the bond and commitment. So, don't forget it, make this day a celebration and share your love with the one with whom you have made that special commitment with the love of God in your hearts. Happy Valentine's Day and do something speicial on this wonderful occasion.