Catholic Prayer: St. John's Wine
The Feast of St. John the Evangelist is December 27. An older custom is to drink to the love of St. John. Here is an explanation of that custom, also the blessing of wine for his feast day.
When our children were little, we celebrated December 27, the feast of St. John, very simply. After blessing wine with holy water and the sign of the Cross, we made a punch, adding water and sugar, and poured it into our best goblets. Then at the supper table Daddy would begin the toast, touching his goblet to mine, and say: "I drink you the love of St. John." In turn I touched the goblets of each of the children. They followed suit and would "drink you the love of St. John." It is a delightful custom and one they cherish.
Its memory comes back to them many times. Not infrequently when they are given a special drink — even in warm weather — they say: "Today is such a saint's feast! Let's drink to his love." And the clinking of glasses begins as they toast the patron of the day.
Now that they are older we have a more solemn blessing in memory of St. John, who remained unharmed by a cup of poisoned wine after he had blessed it with the Sign of the Cross. Whenever a priest of the family is home, the 22nd Psalm is read, followed by the Lord's Prayer and a series of versicles. Then the official prayers for the Blessing of Wine are recited. Otherwise the following blessing from the Ritual is read at the dinner table [Editor's Note: This blessing is from the older version of the Roman Ritual.]. Father: Lord Jesus Christ, Thou didst call Thyself the vine and Thy holy Apostles the branches; and out of all those who love Thee, Thou didst desire to make a good vineyard. Bless this wine and pour into it the might of Thy benediction so that every one who drinks or takes of it, may through the intercession of Thy beloved disciple, the holy Apostle and Evangelist John, be freed from every disease or attack of illness and obtain health of body and soul. Who livest and reignest forever.
A toast to the love of St. John is then pledged by all the family. St. John's wine is easy to make.Prayer Source: Christmas to Candlemas in a Catholic Home by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota