herald

Monday 20 August 2018

St Valentine's relic is draw for 2,000 lovers

MORE than 2,000 lovers will flock to a Dublin church to see St Valentine's remains and celebrate the romantic day on Monday.

Fr David Weakliam, a priest at Whitefriar Street Church, said couples, singles -- and anyone dedicated to love and romance -- visit the saint's shrine.

"There's always a throughput of people going to St Valentine's shrine," he told the Herald.

"There are couples, groups of people, and people praying in isolation, and they all have their own reasons for being there.

"People come for engagements, renewal of their vows, or because they're heartbroken."

Fr Weakliam said married couples regularly come to the church. "There are a lot of people renewing their vows of 25 years in front of St Valentine, and they'd ask a priest to go through the vows once more."

He added: "Three people in the last six years have proposed marriage there, and those are just the people that told me."

St Valentine's remains were given to a Dublin priest Fr John Spratt by the Vatican in 1836, in recognition of social works he did at the time.

The casket contains a "sizeable part of his remains" according to Fr Weakliam and it is encased in glass.

St Valentine was a priest who was martyred after he was killed on February 14, 205AD and visitors to the church write prayers in a ledger at his altar.

"On St Valentine's Day, we take the remains out and put them on the high altar," said Fr Weakliam.

"Between 1,500 and 2,000 people would cross the thoroughfare in the church on any given day. There's always a trickle or a stream of people coming in daily."

hnews@herald.ie

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