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In St. Peter’s Basilica on Valentine’s Day Friday, Pope Francis held the first “The Joy of Yes Forever” event, celebrating the feast of St. Valentine with thousands of engaged, married and soon to be married couples.
According to The Washington Post, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 couples took part in the blessing, forcing the service to be moved outside. The Pope arrived around 12:30 and took time to address the crowd personally by greeting couples directly.
A 32-year old attending with his fiancé commented, “Francis is a figure who comforts us in the difficulties that young people face, both material and spiritual.”
Digital Journal reports the Pope advised the crowd that “living together is an art, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey," and called on the couples to build solidly found relationships in a fast paced world.
"Don't build your house on the sand of sentiments that come and go, but on the rock of real love," the Pope was reported as saying.
St. Valentine’s Day marks the day St. Valentine was martyred outside of Rome, though it is also a secular tradition. The event did not allow same-sex couples to participate, though the Pope has called for increased tolerance toward the gay community.
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons