On Valentine's Day we give gifts to those we care about. A period of prayer and fasting, Christians will often abstain from certain pleasures during this time. "We're always busy", said Jim Gerodemos, owner of Gino's Steakhouse, which has locations in Merrillville and Dyer.
In tradition, many Christians begin their 40-day journey by coming to church on Ash Wednesday for a service of penitence. For many, this means abstaining from meat, and possibly from treats like chocolate.
The day before Ash Wednesday is sometimes called Pancake Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
More will hold an ashes service at 6:30, with Masses Wednesday at 9 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. This is treated as a period of reflection and a time for fasting from food and festivities.
The Rev. Mari Larson, senior pastor at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, said if you look at the "core" of Valentine's Day, it meshes well with Ash Wednesday. A priest marks ashes on participants' foreheads to remind them life passes away on Earth.
Ash Wednesday is a popular day in the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar that draws large numbers of the faithful to area churches, said Judy Riopelle, director of faith formation at St. Francis Church.
Another thing that people are really upset about with Ash Wednesday being Valentine's Day is that they do not get to go out for a nice steak dinner because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during the 40 days of Lent.
Many people will give up something during Lent such as candy, tobacco, alcohol or coffee as a way of sacrifice. What am I going to gain by doing so?' This year I've made a decision to give up more of my time.
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