A flawless blend of Lent fasting and Valentine's Day

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Lent isn't only a Catholic observance, as several area Protestant ministers will attest.

For the second year, the Episcopal Churches in the Mid-Hudson Valley will be bringing Ash Wednesday to the people.

Valentine's Day is a religious festival in strict terms, a day to mark the feast of St. Valentine, a saint of the Catholic Church who was martyred. It will include a short meditation by the Rev. Joseph Hedden.

A full schedule of Ash Wednesday services at the Cathedral can be found on the cathedral's website.

Ashes will also be distributed during a Mass at 9 a.m., a prayer service at 4:30 p.m., and a Mass at 6 p.m.

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On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded that God has given us the greatest gift we will ever receive. "For us, it is a penitential time for self-examination".

The other possibilities are that it ends on Holy Thursday (March 29) as this is the end of the liturgical season of Lent, whilst Eastern churches believe it ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday (March 23). "It's quieter", he said. This is the first time the Lenten calendar has played out this way since 1945.

"We had a lot of people who expressed authentic gratitude with us when we were standing on the curb with them", Meech said. Especially if she or he gave any of that up for Lent.

During Lent, many believers give up something they love, such as eating chocolates or other candies, as a way of replicating Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days. Chaffee said. "Volunteering at a soup kitchen, random acts of kindness, visiting someone in jail - the thought now is not so much giving something up, but doing something more". The practice of fasting is nearly always paired with prayer in the Bible.

"Ash Wednesday" never mean complete fasting but it is only abstaining from meat so couples can have a romantic dinner with a vegetarian platter.

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Ashes usually aren't a good look for Valentine's Day.

Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo pointed out that Ash Wednesday and Good Friday were the only two days of the whole year that required fasting and abstinence, per The New York Times.

To quite differ from the above, chairperson of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Philip Anyolo told Christians in Kenya this week: "These two days that have different philosophies coincide".

Christian denominations call on their members to make various sacrifices during the 40-day Lenten season that leads up to Easter Sunday, including fasting from food, reflecting and carrying out extra acts of charity.

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