St. Valentine was a martyr who was put to death for the faith in the the latter part of the 3rd century. There is some confusion about Valentine’s identity. There was a Valentine, who was a priest of Rome, and a Valentine, who was bishop of Ternia Both of whom are commemorated on February 14 (both are now generally assumed to be the same person).
Some say that Valentine was taken prisoner for assisting the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. Others say that he got in trouble for assisting in the marriage of young, Roman soldiers. The story is that Claudius forbade marriages among the members of his army without his consent because he believed that unmarried men made the best soldiers. Valentine took pity on the young soldiers who were in love and yet unable to get imperial permission to marry and began performing marriages for them, without the emperor’s permission. The emperor arrested him but he refused both to repent of his actions and to recant his faith. When he called upon the emperor to repent and believe in Jesus, Claudius became furious and condemned him to death.
Valentine was beaten with clubs and stoned and when he survived in spite of these actions, he was beheaded. His execution occurred on February 14, somewhere between the years 269-273. Valentine came to be commemorated as the patron of young lovers. In many parts of Europe, it was said that birds began to pair off for the nesting season in mid-February. This day, being close to the day of Valentine’s martyrdom, became known as St. Valentine’s day.
PRAYER: Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Valentine: Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.