The feast of St Valentine is being celebrated around the world today, not least at the Dublin church which houses a number of his relics.
St Valentine is known as the patron saint of couples in love and Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare and Leighlin on Tuesday blessed an engaged couple at the Shine to this Saint at the Carmelite Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, known to Dubliners as 'Whitefriar Street'.
Bishop Nulty, who is President of Accord, the Irish Catholic Marriage Care Service, also launched on Tuesday the Accord 2016 figures for sacramental marriage preparation and for marriage and relationship counselling.
Speaking on the blessing of engaged couple Carol Dignam and Tim Boylan at the Shrine, Bishop Nulty said: "Accord have been doing this for many years and it's a great focus on marriage as a sacrament and its contribution to Irish society."
On St Valentine's day itself, his relics are put on the main altar for veneration. There is also a book on the altar in which people can write down their requests, prayers and hopes, not just for themselves but for others too.
The Bishop described having these relics in Ireland as "wonderful", and pointed out that although the skull of the Saint maybe in Rome, his heart is most certainly in Dublin.
As well as celebrating the feast of St Valentine, the Irish Catholic Marriage Care Service, Accord launched its 2016 figures. So how important is marriage preparation? According to Bishop Nulty "it's crucially important." He noted that statistics show that the programme that Accord runs has never been so much in demand.
Asked about the reason for the increase in demand from 2015 to 2016, the Bishop said the course which is offered, "sticks to fundamentals." He added that those who are getting married, want something that is, "worthwhile, something that's good, something that's solid... and we welcome that as an agency of the Catholic Church and the Bishops in Ireland welcome it warmly..."
Source: Vatican Radio
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