February 14, 2007
St Raphael: patron saint of sex
For those times when getting drunk just won’t do it:
Forget speed-dating and lonely-hearts columns. The Roman Catholic Church has come up with a more reliable way of finding love on Valentine’s Day: pray to St Raphael, the little-known patron saint of “happy meetings”.
The Church, concerned by a 30 per cent drop in Catholic weddings in England and Wales in the past decade, is offering single people the chance to seek divine intervention by the saint, described as a “heavenly helper famed for his match-making prowess”.
It has set up a website that includes tips for people trying to find “a good and virtuous spouse” and a prayer to St Raphael that has to be said for nine consecutive days from Wednesday.
While the spiritual match-making service is being offered to all singles, the Church is particularly hoping that the facility will aid Catholics who are finding it increasingly difficult to meet a spouse.
… Praying to a saint might seem like a rather desperate course of action for those wondering where their next rose or box of chocolates is coming from, but the Catholic Church teaches that there is a strong link between the earthly and spiritual realms. They believe that saints can intercede on their behalf.
The Rt Rev Ambrose Griffiths, Bishop Emeritus of Hexham and Newcastle, acknowledged that people may be sceptical, but urged them to give St Raphael the benefit of the doubt.
“We are alerting people to a dimension of life that most people tend to overlook,” he said. “We are not just physical beings, but we are spiritual as well.”
However, Bishop Griffiths, who is also chairman of Catholic Youth Services, warned people against praying to St Raphael in search of sexual gratification.
“Prayer should not be used as a tool for people to find someone to jump into bed with. True love is much deeper than that.”
… St Raphael is credited with helping a biblical marriage between Tobias and Sarah. Sarah’s previous seven husbands had all died on their wedding night.
Neil Hughes, a 24-year-old physics graduate, has been single for a year and welcomes the Church’s offer of help.
“It might sound like a crazy idea, but I believe that prayer is an important way of seeking guidance in life,” he said. “I’ll be praying to St Raphael. It definitely beats trying to find your partner by getting drunk in a nightclub.”
If delusional sounds better than drunk to you, visit the patron saint of happy meetings at Life4seekers.
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