Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day causes unique conflict

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Ash Wednesday fell on Valentine’s Day this year, creating a unique conflict for some Christians.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and a time to avoid indulgences. But Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day, a day when people typically do indulge. Newark Archbishop Cardinal Joseph Tobin said that there was a way to celebrate both days.

“Valentine’s Day is my mother’s birthday. I will figure out how to do both things, and I think we as a people of faith, who love others, can do it,” Tobin said.

Cardinal Tobin said that it didn’t mean Christians couldn’t observe Valentine's Day. They may have just had to celebrate differently than usual.

“Maybe it means being more generous on the date for someone who doesn't have a date, like the poor or the forgotten,” he said.

Those who were not able to make it to church for Ash Wednesday were able to get “ashes on the go” at the Linden train station courtesy of Saint John the Baptist Episcopal Church.

Rev. Peter DeFranco says that no matter how you observed Ash Wednesday, the rules for the first day of Lent are the same.

“It’s a reminder that we are mortal and that we better turn our way around so we can walk the path God would like us to walk,” the reverend said.

It is rare that Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day. Easter will fall on April Fool’s Day this year.

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