As noted before, I’ve developed a great affection for St. Joseph, whose feast day is today.

It is also, of course, Joseph Ratzinger’s name day (or onomastico, in Italian), and Benedict XVI, as we now call him, took note of that in his homly at mass today in Cameroon:

“Jesus Christ brings us together on this day when the Church, here in Cameroon and throughout the world, celebrates the Feast of Saint Joseph, Husband of the Virgin Mary. I begin by wishing a very happy feast day to all those who, like myself, have received the grace of bearing this beautiful name, and I ask Saint Joseph to grant them his special protection in guiding them towards the Lord Jesus Christ all the days of their life.”

So little is known of the details of Joseph’s life (the Catholic Encyclopedia entry is here), and unlike many other saints, the Catholic imagination has somehow neglected to fill in the blanks. One of my favorite novels, and certainly the favorite of recent years, is Marilynne Robinson’s “Gilead,” which, from one angle I think, can be read as the story of Joseph and the Holy Family. (Then again I may be putting too much onto Robinson’s Calvinist sensibility.)

For thos with only a few minutes to spare, check out the reflections of our trusty guide to all things saintly, Father Jim Martin, SJ, in a video on St. Joseph from Loyola Productions.

Happy Feast day to all Josephs!

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