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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, February 14, 2018
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Day of love, Lent same
day after 73 years

After 73 years, Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday have fallen on the same day – today, with the last occurrence having been in 1945.

It is providential that both events are being marked on the same day, “as if to remind us of the true meaning and measure of love - our readiness to die on the cross for the beloved”, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said yesterday.

“It is a reminder that the cross mark on our forehead is actually the true symbol of the greatest love - our capacity to die out of love for the other, to be nothing as symbolized by the ashes is the heart of what true love is,” he said.

The bishop said it is interesting to observe how many will really observe Ash Wednesday today in its true spirit, which should be for a day of prayer, fasting and abstinence.

Ash Wednesday, that kicks off the 40-day Lenten season, iswhen priests mark the foreheads of Catholics with ashes in the sign of the Cross as a reminder that man comes from dust and to dust he shall return.

The Holy Father's Lenten message is based on Matthew 24:12 that says “Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will grow cold”, Alminaza also pointed out.

The next time Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day will overlap will be in 2024 and 2029, and the third time before this century ends will be in 2096, which, ironically is a leap year – the first time in the history of the church.

Easter Sunday and April Fools' Day also fall on the same date this year.*CPG/PNA



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