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Engaged couples gather at St Valentine's tomb to seek blessing

Jesus is the best role model for engaged couples hoping to perfect their love, and the Gospel is the best marriage preparation manual ever written, an Italian bishop told couples gathered at the tomb of St. Valentine.

"Valentine listened to the Gospel, tried to live it day by day and taught so many others to love that he became love's patron saint," said Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni, Narni and Amelia.

The bishop welcomed to the Basilica of St. Valentine in Terni 180 couples engaged to be married in 2003.

He spoke last Sunday at the diocese's annual Mass and blessing in anticipation of today's feast of St. Valentine.

Although various versions of the life of St. Valentine exist, in Terni he is venerated as a bishop of the city who was martyred in 273 after a life spent caring for the poor, curing the sick and, in particular, helping ease the social difficulties that prevented a young Christian woman and a pagan man from marrying.

Catholic News Service

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14 Feb 2003