In the run up to Valentine’s Day, Catholic bishops of England and Wales have released a novena prayer to give moral support to young people seeking a spouse ahead of St Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day a joyous festival which stands for love is celebrated on February 14 every year across the globe. The festival is intended to commemorate the martyrdom of St Valentine, a Christian Saint. Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentine honored on February 14 is the Valentine of Rome.
During the reign of Claudius, Valentine, a priest in Rome was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christian who was being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome, when helping them was considered a crime. He was arrested, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome. Saint Valentine is said to have performed clandestine Christian weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love and young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses.
Rt Rev Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth, who heads the work of Catholic mission in England and Wales, said: “St Valentine’s Day can be difficult for those who have not yet found their ideal husband or wife. The release of this new prayer aims to remind everyone that God has a loving plan for each one of us and that there is always reason to be hope-filled.
“We know that Christian prayer, sincerely offered, is answered in a way that is always for our ultimate happiness and good. Our prayers can often be answered in ways we didn’t expect, and it’s important to be open to this. Whatever your circumstances, know that you are not alone, that you are loved by God who is full of tenderness, mercy and compassion."
“You are very welcome to visit a Catholic church this weekend to find out more about prayer, and you never know, you might meet someone at church this Sunday," Bishop O’Toole added.
Below is the text of the Prayer composed by the Bishops, which is to be said for Nine Days:
Loving Father, You know that the deepest desire of my heart is to meet someone that I can share my life with. I trust in your loving plan for me and ask that I might meet soon the person that you have prepared for me. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, open my heart and mind so that I recognize my soul mate. Remove any obstacles that may be in the way of this happy encounter, So that I might find a new sense of wholeness, joy and peace. Give me the grace too, to know and accept, if you have another plan for my life. I surrender my past, present and future into the tender heart of your Son, Jesus, Confident that my prayer will be heard and answered. AMEN. Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you. St Valentine, pray for me.