Saturday, February 14, 2009

Be My... Raphael?

Every wish for a Happy Valentine's Day to one and all... for folks looking to celebrate or seek love, though, the UK church is urging the faithful to look elsewhere:
Britain's Roman Catholic Church is advising lovelorn singles to direct their 14 February requests for love to St Raphael, rather than St Valentine.

Over the years St Valentine has come incorrectly to be associated with finding love, the Church says.

He is the patron saint for those who have already found their soulmate.

St Raphael is the patron saint for happy encounters and it is to him those fearing the Valentine's post should properly direct their prayers.

Clare Ward, spokeswoman for the Catholic Enquiry Office, the official body providing information on Catholic life, said that while the distinction between the saints has always been clear within the Church it has, over the years, been blurred outside.

"Saint Valentine passed a note to his jailer's daughter, whose sight he is thought to have cured," she said.

"The note had no romantic content, but it's from this story that the tradition of sending notes of appreciation has come from.

"If you are still looking for your soul mate, the actual patron saint is St Raphael.

"He's the person you should dedicate your day or pray to if you are looking for Mr or Mrs right."

St Raphael, according to legend, helped Tobias enter into marriage with Sarah, who had seen seven previous bridegrooms perish on the eve of their weddings.

It is he within the canon of Catholic saints who is properly associated with helping to forge partnerships.

St Valentine is said to have been martyred in Rome in 269.

While his exact history is unclear, Valentine is thought to have existed as archaeologists have unearthed an early church dedicated to someone of that name.

One theory is that he was a priest in Rome who continued to marry Christian couples in defiance of the law of the day.

On the eve of his execution, he is said to have signed a note to his jailer's daughter: "From your Valentine."
Along with the other archangels -- Ss. Michael and Gabriel -- Raphael's feast is observed on 29 September.

All that aside, a classic to start the morning right....

Whatever your patron, gang, just soak it up.