As love festival known as Valentine’s Day is being celebrated world wide today, a Catholic priest, Priest, Rev. Fr. Godfrey Udeh, has charged Nigerians to practise the love they profess to foster national unity.
The parish priest spoke on Sunday at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Tedi in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, on Sunday during the distribution of gift items to indigent persons in the community.
He said the event marking the Valentine’s Day was to demonstrate the commitment of members of the pariah to the protection of love, justice, equity, selflessness and sacrifice in the society
According to him, the gift items were donations from parishioners and were given to not less than 300 indigents, including non-Catholics after the Sunday Mass to show love and care.
In his sermon during the Sunday church service, Rev. Fr. Udeh said that as believers in Christ, people should always follow Christ love for the people.
Udeh, who reflected on the importance of the day and who disclosed that he had requested the gifts items from the parishioners on behalf of the indigents, said the world marks the feast of St. Valentine on Feb. 14 every year to commemorate the life of a Priest who worked against the decision of the Roman Empire to outlaw married soldiers in the Roman military.
According to him, St. Valentine’s stance against what Emperor Claudius beloved made him order that he should be imprisoned and executed on Feb. 14 in 269 A.D.
He said: “After his execution in 498 A.D., Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14 Church holiday in his honour as he was martyred for the protection of the sanctity of holy matrimony.
“St. Valentine was a dispenser of love and an epitome of justice, equity, selflessness and sacrifice. He sacrificed his freedom, time and personality solemnizing and guarding the institution of marriage from attack and ultimate destruction.
“As a priest whose lifestyle symbolises more than filiation and conjugation, his life was embedded in charity, chastity, kindness, forgiveness, gratitude and selflessness.”
However, Udeh what St. Valentine stood for had been misconstrued those who now see the day as a time for social events or a day for extravaganzas, indulgence in merriment and immoral activities.
He said the day should rather be a period for reflection on the sacrifice of selfless love and passion exemplified by St Valentine.