Though the red heart has become the traditional symbol of Valentine's Day, there may be reason to also consider the shamrock, for there is an Irish connection.
St. Valentine is known as the "Patron Saint of Lovers." And in Ireland ~ this love is honored in a very special way.
While there's no definitive written account of St. Valentine and his life in the third century,
his Irish connection is more recent - and documented. In the year 1836, Pope Gregory XVI sent
a gift to the Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street, Dublin, in recognition of
the work of the church's former prior, Father John Spratt, who was widely recognized as a very holy man.
The gift was a relic of a Christian martyr: a small gold-bound casket containing the earthly remains
of St. Valentine. The relic had been exhumed from the cemetery of St. Hyppolytus on the Tiburtine Way
in Rome, placed in a golden casket, and brought to Dublin, where it was enshrined in the little
church with great ceremony.
This year, on February 14th, as it has in every year since, the casket
containing the Saint's mortal remains will be carried in solemn procession to the high altar of
the Carmelite Church for a special Mass dedicated to young people and those in love.
For those wishing to visit St. Valentine's Shrine in Dublin, the church is located between Aungier Street
and Wexford Street, just a few minutes walk west of St Stephen's Green.If you're lucky enough to be there, this little known Dublin church also sells Valentine's
Day cards. Truly, it can be said - these are the genuine article!
For the most part Valentine's Day is celebrated the same as it is the world over, with candy hearts, chocolates, flowers and cards.