27 Dec: Today we bless WINE! HUZZAH!

The liturgical year guided and nourish and shaped Catholics for centuries.  It does so far less now.  But once, people not only followed the turning of the earth and the wheeling of the stars and the rising and setting of the sun and moon with serious attention for the sake of planting and harvesting – a life and death matter – but they also marked the passage of time with sacramentals and blessings and other customs.

Today is the Feast of St. John the Evangelist and Apostle.  In the older, traditional Rituale Romanum, which priests of the Latin Church may use, there is a blessing today for wine.

Let’s have a look at the texts, which I found in a handy form on the site of the Canons of St. John Cantius in Chicago.

There is a story that an attempt was made to poison St. John.  He was protected, however, and his enemies thwarted when the poison extracted itself from the wine and crawled out of the chalice in the form of a snake.

I have had some wine I would like to be able to do that to, just to get the attention of a careless waiter or wine steward.  But I digress.


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: May He also be with you.

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.

It 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.


on the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

At the end of Mass, after the last Gospel, the following is said:

(for this psalm see Rite for Baptism of Children)

After the psalm: Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: Save your servants.

All: Who trust in you, my God.

P: Lord, send them aid from your holy place.

All: And watch over them from Sion.

P: Let the enemy have no power over them.

All: And the son of iniquity be powerless to harm them.

P: Then if they drink anything deadly.

All: It will not harm them.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, who willed that your Son, co-eternal and consubstantial [apparently “consubstantial” wasn’t tooo haaard back then!] with you, come down from heaven and in the fulness of time be made flesh for a time of the blessed Virgin Mary, in order to seek the lost and wayward sheep and carry it on His shoulders to the sheepfold, and to heal the man fallen among robbers of his wounds by pouring in oil and wine; may you bless + and sanctify + this wine which you have vintaged for man’s drink. Let all who taste or drink of it on this holy feastday have health of body and soul; by your grace let it be a solace to the man who is on a journey and bring him safely to his destination; through Christ our Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, who spoke of yourself as the true vine and the apostles as the branches, and who willed to plant a chosen vineyard of all who love you, bless + this wine and empower it with your blessing; so that all who taste or drink of it may, through the intercession of your beloved disciple John, apostle and evangelist, be spared every deadly and poisonous affliction and enjoy bodily and spiritual well-being. We ask this of you who live and reign forever and ever.

God, who in creating the world brought forth for mankind bread as food and wine as drink, bread to nourish the body and wine to cheer the heart; who conferred on blessed John, your beloved disciple, such great favor that not only did he himself escape the poisoned potion, but could restore life by your power to others who were dead from poison; grant to all who drink this wine spiritual gladness and everlasting life; through Christ our Lord.

It is sprinkled with holy water.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. CatholicinCA says:

    That’s pretty cool! I’d love to have some of that blessed wine!

  2. unsilenced says:

    I have a question. Since we now translate “Et cum Spiritu tuo” (sorry for any misspellings) as “and with your spirit” in the Mass, should we do the same in these translations? just wondering…

  3. DanW says:

    I was just going to ask the same question as unsilenced. Just curious.

  4. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Oh Father! I wish I had known this before Mass today. I would have taken some wine to be blessed. Today is my husband’s and my 31st wedding anniversary. We went to Mass this morning with some of our seven children (two were altar boys!) and the very kind priest blessed us and prayed for us afterward. Our newly married son and his wife will be here very soon, so we will have all the children under our roof again tonight. God has blessed us so very much!

  5. So THAT’S the meaning of the chalice with the snake in it that I have seen in the stained-glass window at church! Imagine going to Catholic school for 12 years and never learning that.

  6. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    What in the wide, wide world of sports is “May He also be with you”?!?!?!?!

  7. TXKathi says:

    Thank you for putting up what the English was for this blessing – as I was listening to Father do the blessing over the wine this a.m. after Mass, I was wishing I knew what he was saying b/c I was sure it was rather juicy – as are most traditional blessings. A friend of mine takes a case every year to get blessed on 12/27 & saves them to use for wedding gifts, housewarming gifts, new baby, special birthday, etc. I got a few bottles blessed & will save one of them out for a gift, with this prayer printed out to accompany the bottle.

    This is one thing I really appreciate about a traditional parish – that things like this of the traditional Catholic life are being brought back to us.

  8. Pingback: 3rd Day of Christmas: Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist | Quicksilver to Gold

  9. KAS says:

    Having grown up with a winemaker for a Dad and having done the work from tending vines to picking, crushing, pressing, fermenting, bottling…. everything because we all worked it when we lived at home… I am delighted by this blessing and wish I’d known about it when I still had a few bottles from the old winery…

  10. jlduskey says:

    We had the blessing of wine today after morning mass at St. James Church in Sauk Village, IL. Yesterday the pastor, Fr. David Krolczyk, gave out blessed walnuts and explained the meaning of “Good King Wenceslaus looked out on the feast of Stephen.”

  11. Centristian says:

    What a magnificent blessing. I wonder if that could be adapted for medications that are necessary but may have horrendous side effects?

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