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‘Is there permission to go out on Valentine’s Day even if it’s Ash Wednesday?’

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Check out how one priest is answering that question, using social media creatively this year. This comes from The Sun Herald newspaper in Mississippi:

Father Joe Tonos of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Oxford has a trendy way of reaching his college-aged congregation.

The Greenville native has been getting inundated with questions regarding Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day aligning on Feb. 14 this year. So, like any good millennial or teen nowadays, he took to social media Tuesday to get his message across.

It all goes back to Tonos being asked “Is there permission to go out on Valentine’s Day even if it’s Ash Wednesday?”

To help answer that question, he circulated the Ryan Gossling meme below on Facebook.

His explanation:

 The question is “Since Ash Wednesday is a day of fast and abstinence, and it’s Valentine’s, is there permission from THE CHURCH to have chocolates and all that Valentine stuff?”

Guhhh…the things y’all make me care about.

So first, I don’t care. Do what you will. You’re gonna do it anyway.

Second, Ash Wednesday is a big deal in that it begins the 40 days of Lent. It is appropriate to do a MINIMAL amount of suffering (fasting and abstaining) with Christ on that day. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for you so you can probably do without that box of Whitman Samplers for one day. I got faith in you. You got this.

Third, St.Valentine’s day isn’t even a big day on the Roman Calendar. I am one of the many who say that it really is a corporate grab to sell food, drinks, perfumes, flowers, cards, candy, undies, and whatever. I don’t need to continue. All to say, it’s not even a religious holiday. Bow to your corporate overlords. BIG CANDY IS WATCHING YOU!

Fourth, our diocese sent out a statement:

There will be no dispensation for Ash Wednesday fast and abstinence because of Valentine’s Day. If anyone asks tell them to celebrate Valentine’s Day on Mardi Gras.

I’ll be making popcorn for that. I can see some of the older priests standing up and saying, “I’ll NOT TELL YE NUTTIN! CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S WHILE YE CAN! AND IFFEN YE BE TINKIN’ OF YOUR POOR OL LONELY PASTOR BRING ME A BIT OF SCOTCH AND SOME CHOCOLATES STUFFED WITH MONEY CUZ I CANNAH GET MARRRRRRIED!!!”

Now you know.

Related: When Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day collide

Deacon Greg Kandra
The Deacon's Bench
Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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