WATCH: Engaged couple receive special blessing at Shrine of St. Valentine
A newly engaged couple had an early Valentine's Day when they received a special blessing on the site of St. Valentine's relics in Dublin.
Anna Keegan from Glenageary in Dublin and Seamus Walsh from Ballycastle in Mayo were joined by family members as they were blessed by Bishop Denis Nulty at the Shrine of Saint Valentine in Dublin's Whitefriar Church.
The blessing marked the eve of the feast of St. Valentine, which this year falls on the same day as Ash Wednesday - the first time the two celebrations will coincide in 73 years.
Anna, a project officer for the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, met Seamus, an engineer, in November 2015 while they were both attending a rugby match. Sparks flew and the couple got engaged while at the Christmas Markets in Budapest two years later, but not before Seamus got the right ring to pop the question with.
"Anna told me if I was ever going to ask her to marry me that I needed to ask for her mother's engagement ring," Seamus told THEVOW.ie, "so the hard work was getting the ring before the flight to Budapest."
"Anna's mother always knew that Anna was going to get the ring," he joked, "she was prepared for the question one day..."
The couple said they were happy to take part in the blessing on the eve of Valentine's Day, as their religion is an integral part of their relationship.
"It was a very special occasion because getting married and being engaged is exciting but you have to think about your whole life of marriage after that," said Seamus, "when times may be tough and maybe not so exciting the church will always be there for you."
"It's so exciting arranging everything but [the blessing] puts it back into the core of it," said Anna. "We chose to get married in a church because our faith means a lot to us. This is looking at the marriage and how God is going to help us with that."
The couple also noted that they would be using the special 'Joy of Love' token book which has been published to coincide with the World Meeting of Families, due to take place in August, to help couples celebrate St. Valentine's Day.
The booklet of tokens includes items like "a special dinner cooked by me", "a hand-in-hand walk together", time to pray together and - the one Anna and Seamus say they'll be exchanging tomorrow - "A technology free evening to do an activity of your choice."
"It's a challenge to do a whole evening without it but it's a good thing for a couple to try to do so we'll give it a go," said Anna, "I'm giving up Facebook for Lent from tomorrow, so I'm going to try that and see how it goes."
The happy couple will be married on 5th October this year in Saint Joseph’s Church, Glasthule, in the Archdiocese of Dublin.