Valentine or Valentino is a Latin male name meaning Strength
Valentine was a Catholic Priest who lived in Rome in the 3rd century. At that time, Rome was under the rule of cruel Claudius II. During his time, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody wars. The emperor had to maintain a strong army but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military. Claudius knew that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families. To get rid of this problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome.
Fr Valentine realizing the injustice of this decree defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young couples in secret so that, the husbands are exempted from joining the army and from going to war.
When Fr. Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he was to be put to death. He was arrested and dragged before the prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off.
During the last weeks of Fr. Valentines’ life, a remarkable thing happened. Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked Fr Valentine to tutor his blind daughter who was blind from birth, pretty with a quick mind.
Fr. Valentine read stories of Rome's history to her. He described the world of nature to her. He also told her about God. She saw the world through his eyes, trusted his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength. He made her believe that “if we really believe in God, He does really hear our prayers. "God does what is best for us if we will only believe in Him". Getting confidence from Fr. Valentine, blind Julia began to pray, asking God that she gets eyesight.
One day as they sat quietly together, each praying, suddenly there was a brilliant light in the prison cell. Radiant, Julia screamed, "Valentine, I can see! I can see!" "Praise be to God!" Valentine exclaimed, and he knelt in prayer. On the eve of his death, Valentine wrote a last note to Julia, urging her to stay close to God. He signed it, "From your Valentine."
He was killed the next day, February 14, 270 A.D. Hearing the beheading and death of Fr. Valentine, couples whose marriages were blessed by him, those who got help and support from him, and those who were going through difficult situations with regard to the blessing of their marriages began to pray to Fr. Valentine. They began visiting his burial place for prayer and offered flowers and slowly it became a family day for those people and families.
The Church acknowledged his great and heroic service to the people and the devotion of the people. Fr. Valentine was declared a saint in the year 496 AD, by Pope Gelasius. February 14th began to be known and celebrated as St. Valentine’s Day. On February 14, St Valentine's Day, messages of affection, love, and devotion are exchanged around the world.
Through the intercession of St. Valentine may all young people seeking true marriage partners today be guided to find and choose spouses according to the heart of Jesus. Amen.
St. Valentine, pray for us. Amen. Happy feast day to all Valentine, Valentino, and Valentina.