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Valentine's Day

Irish couples blessed before the remains of St Valentine hear that marriage is 'like 3D glasses'

Bishop Nulty described the sacrament of marriage as “like 3D glasses”.

TWO ENGAGED IRISH couples were blessed this morning in front of the relics of St Valentine at the Carmelite Church on Whitefriar St in Dublin.

It has become something of a Valentine’s Day tradition for an Irish to couple to have their upcoming nuptials blessed in front of the blood and bones of the man himself.

The first couple, Orla Gavin and Patrick Corcoran, met the night before the first day of college in the ‘Stables Club’ at the University of Limerick.

The second couple, Ilona Catharine Dorrepaal and Patrick Michael Lennon, both primary school teachers who first met in the Gaeltacht in Dingle.

Both were blessed by Bishop Denis Nulty this morning, a day before Valentine’s Day.

Speaking about marriage, Bishop Nulty said the “sacrament is like the 3D glasses we watch movies with; love is not just between the couple themselves, but firmly united with God.”

valentines-day-2023 Niall Carson Niall Carson

The reliquary, which was a gift from Pope Gregory XVI made in 1836, contains some of the remains of St Valentine, along with a small vessel tinged with his blood and some other artefacts. 

Typically each year ahead of February 14, a to-be-wed couple is blessed in front of the shrine. This year two couples were involved in the ceremony. The event is run by Catholic marriage advice and counselling agency Accord. The organisation says that in 2022 they provided marriage preparation courses for 4,610 couples, a return to pre-Covid levels.

valentines-day-2023 PA PA

Those availing of Accord services are most likely to be between the ages of 31-40, with six out of ten users falling in that bracket. A further 29% are between the ages of 21 and 30.

According to the latest available data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), 39% of all marriages performed in Ireland are Roman Catholic. 43.3% of marriages in 2021 were secular – either civil marriages or performed by a Humanist celebrant.  

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