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Team Aleteia



This Valentine’s Day, share tokens of real affection


Inspired by Pope Francis, the World Meeting of Families 2018 helps couples give gifts of time and attention.

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Every St. Valentine’s Day, couples face a dilemma even more puzzling than Hamlet’s “To be or not to be”: What is the best gift to demonstrate my love?

This year, the folks organizing the World Meeting of Families (WMOF), to be held in Dublin, have come up with the perfect solution for Irish romantics.

Inspired by Pope Francis’ advice to think beyond the traditional box of chocolates or bunch of flowers and seek gifts that will actually help them grow in their love, couples can give each other tokens of real affection from a book the WMOF is making available.

We asked Brenda Drumm, media and communications manager of the WMOF 2018, to explain the origins of this idea.

“In his document Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love),” she explained, “Pope Francis refers directly to Saint Valentine’s Day as an opportunity for couples to celebrate the importance of romantic love by gifting their time and attention to one another rather than simply relying on the more commercial approaches to the saint’s day.”

In this spirit, as part of the preparations for World Meeting of Families in Ireland in August, the World Meeting of Families 2018 invites individuals and couples to “Celebrate the Joy of Love This St Valentine’s Day,” and to mark this day in a number of special ways.

 The gift of time

The booklet of tokens was introduced last year and proved very popular. This year’s tokens include invitations to share:

  • A journey down memory lane – taking time to remember how we met
  • A special meal cooked by me
  • A technology-free evening together
  • Time together to pray
  • A walk together, hand in hand
  • Loads of tender hugs
  • A family outing
  • A prayer that those looking for love will find that special someone

The heart of the matter

The organizers of WMOF2018 are asking couples to acknowledge how precious their time together is. They’re asking the people of Ireland to pick up a book of tokens and a special card to go with them, and to share these simple acts of love and kindness with each other.

WMOF2018 also suggests visiting the Shrine of St. Valentine at Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin and praying, through Saint Valentine’s intercession, not just to find true love – as is traditional at the shrine – but to grow in the love already found.

An idea worth duplicating

The token booklets, in English and Irish, are available at no charge at parishes across Ireland as part of the WMOF2018 Amoris: Let’s Talk Family! Let’s Be Family! program. If you’re not in Ireland, it’s an idea well worth duplicating wherever you are, and the WMOF folks hope it spreads.

Given that St. Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday this year, it is as good a year as any to think outside the chocolate box!


The World Meeting of Families will take place in Dublin, Ireland, August 22-26, 2018. Pope Francis chose Dublin to host the World Meeting of Families 2018 and gave the international gathering the theme: “The Gospel of the Family: Joy for the World.” For more information, click here.

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