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Ash Wednesday Announcement
From the Archidiocese of Chicago
This year, the largely secular celebration of Valentine's Day (February 14) coincides with Ash Wednesday and some have inquired if a dispensation from the obligations to fast and abstain from meat will be given. Catholics throughout the world recognize Ash Wednesday as the solemn beginning of a period of prayerful reflection and penance, as is evident by the large number of churchgoers on this day.
In view of the significance of Ash Wednesday, the obligation of fast and abstinence must naturally be the priority in the Catholic community. Valentine's Day can appropriately be celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which also happens to be Mardi Gras, a traditionally festive time before beginning our Lenten observance.