Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

St Joseph

Happy Feast of St. Joseph!  Today is an especially big feast here in Italy, where it sort of does double-duty as Fathers’ Day, for understandable reasons.

In St. Peter’s Basilica, a relatively new mosaic of St. Joseph hangs above the altar where most daily Masses are celebrated.  It was put there in 1963, when St. Joseph was formally declared the Patron of the Second Vatican Council by Pope (now Saint) John XXIII.

What few pilgrims and tourists don’t realize, however, is that two of the 12 Apostles are buried directly under this very altar.  They’ve been here for many centuries, having been brought to Rome in the Middle Ages from the East, where they were martyred.

But there are no signs anywhere in the basilica to tell you this!  It’s one of those many things about Rome that you somehow have to find out about on your own.  That’s why it makes sense to tour Rome in general, and St. Peter’s Basilica in particular, with a knowledgeable guide…