Catholic Cliffs Notes: Saint Valentine’s Day

posted by Momo Fali on February 14, 2012

When I was young, I attended a public school and a Catholic church. This meant that Sunday morning found me in CCD, also known as Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, and when I say “known as” I mean not at all. Now, the classes are called PSR, also known as Parish School of Religion, which is most commonly referred to as CCD.

Although I had been decorating shoe boxes with aluminum foil and doilies for years, it wasn’t until the ripe old age of eight or nine, when I colored a picture in my CCD workbook, that I learned Valentine’s Day was originally known as Saint Valentine’s Day.

In CCD class, they don’t talk a lot about how saints become saints. Speaking of beheading, burning, and torture would send young children running from the building, never to return. And we can’t afford for that to happen; we’re running out of priests, yo’.

But, I was curious. Curiosity is also why my cousin and I used to bake cakes with Tabasco in them, which explains how I know that it actually did kill the cat. I digress.

My curiosity showed me that no one knows much about how St. Valentine’s Day came about. There were three St. Valentines and, as far as I know, none of them decorated shoeboxes with aluminum foil and doilies. What I do know, is that all of them were martyred.

Thus, St. Valentine’s Day was born; because nothing says, “Be mine” like extreme suffering and death.

The feast day for St. Valentine was long-ago removed from the calendar of the Catholic church, leaving card companies and florists free to swoop in and make it less a religious holiday and more of a, “Let’s see you flex your romantic muscles or you can sleep on the couch” holiday.

So, today, when you eat from your heart-shaped box of chocolates, tip the caramel-filled square to St. Valentine. It’s really the least you can do.


  • raizel

    I just love your tag line…. drat! I should have thought of it.

  • Tara R.

    My hubs calls it St. Hallmark Day. He’s a cynic, but romantic in his own way.

  • Angella

    Beautiful, friend. xo

  • Kathy

    OMG, I never knew what CCD stood for. I went to Catholic school and all I knew was that the CCD kids loved messing with the stuff in our desks when they sat at them when we weren’t there. Geesh, the stuff you remember.

    And three St. Valentines? Huh. Who knew? I bet one of them rocked the foil shoeboxes, though. The crafty one.

  • Terri

    Love this post! One reason is I went to CCD and never knew what it meant. What happened to SRE and what did that mean….?

    • Momo Fali

      I don’t remember, but I think it’s Latin.

  • Heather

    I LOVE your Catholic Cliff Notes because it reminds me of when I grew up and my roots within the Catholic church. OH, CCD. Such FUN FUN memories! 🙂

  • meleah rebeccah

    Wow. Three St. Valentines? Who knew?!

  • The Laundress

    Ha. Kinda makes the holiday a little creepy, no?

  • Monica

    Loved this one. Catholic Cliff Notes…they’re not just for non-Catholics anymore. 🙂

  • maggiemoo

    So THAT’S what CCD meant! We always called it (rightly or wrongly, I don’t know) Catechism Class…

  • Leanne

    Interesting and uh, creepy. 😉

  • Jen @ BigBinder

    Oh. It’s Faith Formation now, I don’t know what happened to CCD but the religious ed lady at our parish gives me dirty looks and corrects me when I say CCD.

    Wow, it’s quite a leap from St. Valentine to Valentine’s day!

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