27 Dec – St. John the Evangelist – Today we bless WINE!

The liturgical year guided and nourished and shaped Catholics for centuries.  It does so far less now, since it is much diminished after the “reforms” that hacked away at the calendar. However, once upon a time 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.

Tomorrow/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 no matter what anyone says, there is a blessing today for wine.

Why wine?  There is a story about St. John that an attempt was made to kill him with poisoned wine.   John was protected, however.  He blessed the cup and the poison extracted itself from the wine and crawled out of the chalice in the form of a snake.  This is why St. John the Evangelist is often depicted not just with an eagle, his gospel symbol, but also a cup with a little snake crawling out of it.

I have in the past had some wine that was so bad that I was sure someone was trying to kill me. I wish I had had the presence of mind to bless it especially just to see what would happen.

Here is the translation of the beautiful Latin blessing for wine.  Remember, Fathers, according to the edition of the Rituale Romanum, blessings are to be done in Latin or they are not valid.  Frankly, I am not sure how that works, but… just do them in Latin.


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. ” … apparently ‘consubstantial’ wasn’t tooo haaard back then!”

    Neither was “and with your spirit.” If it were me, I’d fix that.

  2. Pingback: 27 Dec – St. John the Evangelist – Today we bless WINE! – Via Nova Media

  3. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Searching for Rituale Romanum in the Internet Archive, I find a variety of scans of different editions (down the centuries!), including ones from 1906 and 1925 (i.e., from before and after “the norms and guidelines of the Codex Juris Canonici of 1917, and the revised rubrics of Missal and Breviary” (to quote Wikipedia’s “Roman Ritual” article, which also has a couple useful “External links”).

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    Ok, next December 26, cases of this wine for da blessing (and a case for Padre, he ain’t gettin’ outta dis one):


    *swirls a glass, holds it up to a bare light bulb* “Pugnacious nose. Richly hued, colors of wet cobblestones and used coffee grounds. Deep aromas of hastily crushed cigarettes, back alley barrel fires and fragrance of crazed guard dog. A ridiculously long and violent finish.”

    Film Noir Classique wine compliments diner meatloaf and Guido’s Street Cart pastrami. Perfect for cellaring in a dusty warehouse still marked by chalk outlines on the floor. Tuck a bottle into your trenchcoat for an afternoon at the track playing the ponies.

    In the mood for Cinema? Uncork a bottle, put on your J. Peterman Handsome Thug Sweater (“Wears like a robust fall jacket – but with the light and supple feel of cashmere”), light a coffin nail and settle back to watch “The Secret of Santa Vittoria.”

    Santa Vittoria: a simple town with 1200 citizens and 1,184,611 bottles of wine. The villagers made the wine. The German Army shows up- they want it. Will the Nazis get the bum’s rush? Will the Jerries give the townspeople the third degree? Will the townspeople tell the Nazis to take a powder? Will the Nazis say, “Button your chin and give us the stash or we’ll squirt lead”? Will there be accordions? Yes there will. The villagers are sitting on dynamite, a battle of wits ensues in the Secret of the Pour House.

    [He’s back.]

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    When enjoying Cinema the refined gentleman avoids the concessionaire- save for an amiable tip of the fedora whilst strolling into the theatre- and avails himself of the Copper Flask and Funnel Set (“Also useful around the house or at the campsite, where even the steadiest of hands need assistance on occasion.”)

    A Happy and Blessed New Year to all. Hopefully, last week everyone hung over their fireplace with care a Himalayan Fireplace Stocking (“the vibrant colors and unique designs of the Himalayan mountain range.”) Because, according to Jocko, everyone was GOOD last year.

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