With the revision of liturgical calendar in the reforms following the Second Vatican Council the liturgical memorial of Saint Valentine was removed from the universal calendar, nor is his memorial included in the liturgical calendar of the Diocese of Rome, though his relics are venerated here in the Eternal City.
As I consider the many and growing challenges to marriage in the present day, I cannot help but wonder if this change.
In their Fortnight for Freedom prayer campaign, the Bishops of the United States of America have implored the intercession of Saint Thomas More in their legal defense of marriage and of the rights of the Church. Calling upon the prayers of the former Lord Chancellor of England in these important matters is, given his own life and especially the circumstances of his death, is rather obvious.
But the challenges to marriage today, both within and without the Church, are not only legal. I daresay that the legal challenges would not be present if the many cultural, spiritual, and formational challenges were not present first. Among these are the widespread use of contraception and the frequency of divorce even for "no fault," both of which have certainly helped foster a general lack of commitment in marriage and in other areas of life. These challenges are real and the Church has taken pastoral initiatives to combat them, with some success, but there is great work yet to be done.
I cannot help but wonder if we might not do well to also call upon the intercession of Saint Valentine at this time in the Church's efforts to protect, foster, and encourage healthy and faith-filled marriages. Since he ignored the Emperor's edict forbidding young men to marry and helped prepare couples for marriage and witnessed their exchanges of consent, Saint Valentine's example and intercession would be effective both on the legal front and in our pastoral efforts. Perhaps it is time to restore the liturgical memorial of Saint Valentine to the universal calendar of the Church. A special prayer or even a litany could be composed to seek his prayers that those who are married may help each other grow in holiness and be strengthened in their promise of mutual fidelity.