Terni, Italy, Feb 14, 2022 / 10:16 am (CNA).
In the Italian town of Terni, not far from Rome, 40 engaged couples received a special blessing in the Basilica of St. Valentine.
In Italy’s “City of Lovers,” Feb. 12 -14 was dedicated to the 4th-century martyr who inspired Valentine’s Day. The celebrations included a town festival, Mass, a procession of St. Valentine’s relics, and the traditional blessing of soon-to-be married couples.
The engaged men and women came from all over Italy to receive the blessing from Bishop Francesco Soddu of Terni-Narni-Amelia. Several couples told EWTN News they came for the blessing to ask for the grace to have children after their wedding.
St. Valentine is Terni’s patron saint. He was believed to be Bishop of Terni before he came to Rome during one of the most difficult periods of Christian persecution in the early Church.
According to most accounts, after a time of imprisonment, St. Valentine was beaten and then beheaded, likely for his defiance of the emperor’s ban on Roman soldiers marrying.
The Feb. 13 “Feast of the Promise,” as it is called, included Mass and the benediction. The town also celebrated with the switching on of a series of heart-shaped lights after dark.
Outside the church, a man dressed like St. Valentine greeted the future spouses and handed them each a pink rose.
Andrea, who is from Terni but now lives in France, brought his Russian Orthodox fiancée, Olga, to the blessing. It was also an opportunity to introduce his future wife to his extended family.
“You know, a blessing more is better than a blessing less,” he told EWTN Vatican correspondent Colm Flynn, about their decision to participate.
Olga said the blessing was very important for her because it gives her serenity and confidence in their intention to marry. “Because what is the power of man compared to the power of the Almighty?” she said.
Andrea said he is praying the pair will be a “good and strong couple,” that they will have a “long, long, long marriage,” and maybe that they will have a large family.
Olga told Andrea she hopes to be loved by him until “the last day of my life.”
“I think you don’t have to wish for that…it’s granted already right?” Andrea responded.
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