Attention all oenophiles! Pack up your wine and head to church…
Today after Holy Mass, our priests will perform the traditional blessing of wine for the feast of Saint John. Think about it, Holy Mother Church not allows us to drink wine, she blesses it! I’m packing up a box of wine. I mean, who doesn’t love to get a bottle of blessed wine on New Year’s day?
In case you’ve never experienced it, on Dec 27 the faithful bring bottles of wine into church. After Holy Mass, the priest solemnly blesses the wine. The priest prays over all the wine bottles, and then sprinkles them all with holy water. At our parish we leave the wine in the aisles and in the back of the church.
The custom derives from Dec 27 being the feast day of the Apostle John. Tradition says that the Emperor Domitian once tried to poison St John by offering him poisoned wine. When the Apostle John said a blessing over the wine, the poison left the wine in the form of a snake. See pic above at the top of the post for details.
Here’s an English translation of the ritual for blessing the wine for your edification:
BLESSING OF WINE on the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist
At the end of the principal Mass on the feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, after the last Gospel, the priest, retaining all vestments except the maniple, blesses wine brought by the people. This is done in memory and in honor of St. John, who drank without any ill effects the poisoned wine offered to him by his enemies.
P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
Let us pray.
If it please you, Lord God, bless and consecrate this vessel of wine (or any other beverage) by the power of your right hand; and grant that, through the merits of St. John, apostle and evangelist, all your faithful who drink of it may find it a help and a protection. As the blessed John drank the poisoned potion without any ill effects, so may all who today drink the blessed wine in his honor be delivered from poisoning and similar harmful things. And as they offer themselves body and soul to you, may they obtain pardon of all their sins; through Christ our Lord.
Lord, bless this creature drink, so that it may be a health- giving medicine to all who use it; and grant by your grace that all who taste of it may enjoy bodily and spiritual health in calling on your holy name; through Christ our Lord.
May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, come on this wine (or any other beverage) and remain always.
Next the wine is sprinkled with holy water. If the blessing is given privately outside of Mass, the priest is vested in surplice and stole and performs the ceremony as given above.
Have a Merry Third Day of Christmas,
PS: Saint John is my patron saint, so please pray an Our Father for me today! I’d be grateful.