Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day collide

Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day collide

As a Scranton Institution, Cooper's Seafood, is no stranger to the rush of lent season.

"We're always busy for lent because we're the premiere seafood restaurant in Northeastern Pennsylvania," said owner Jack Cooper.

But Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day sharing the same day is a first for them.

It hasn't happened since 1945.

Owner Jack Cooper calls it the perfect storm.

"We have our full staff on, we have 500 seats open, everybody's working, and we're expecting a really, really busy day," he said.

But Cooper noticed they've already started to get busy, with more couples than usual stopping in.

He thinks people could be getting a jump start on the romantic holiday.

"You'll have both sides of it - you'll have people who will come in and indulge and people who will come in and fast. But we'll get 'em, we'll get 'em for the whole week," Cooper joked.

Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday seem to oppose each another - one encourages indulgence and extravagance - the other, to avoid it.

"I knew as soon as the Eagles won the Super Bowl it was going to be a wild and wonderful year," says University of Scranton Chaplin Father Rick Malloy, S.J.

Father Malloy, S. J. says the two holidays may actually compliment each other.

"God wants us to love. God is love and lent is a time when we're supposed to be really digging into what that means in our lives. And Valentine's Day is a great way to enter into that 40 day period," he said.

The university chaplain thinks you can do both holidays, perhaps just a bit differently.

"Maybe we don't go out and buy a whole lot of presents and chocolates and food. Maybe we show it in other ways, maybe it could be a way to be creative. The way God is creative," he said.

The Diocese of Scranton encourages celebrating Valentine's on a day other than Ash Wednesday to keep the day holy.

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