(RNS) — For many this year, Feb. 14 is a day of mixed messages.

It’s Valentine’s Day, a time for chocolate, roses and perhaps a dinner date. But it’s also Ash Wednesday, which for many Christians is the start of Lent, a period of penitence that precedes Easter Sunday.

How do clergy reconcile this calendar clash, the first of its kind since 1945? Approaches abound:

An Oregon clergy couple celebrated Valentine’s Day early on a recent road trip because they knew they’d be busy at a United Methodist church’s Ash Wednesday service on Feb. 14. An Episcopal priest in Maryland has prepared

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