The Church celebrates the Feast of St. John the Beloved. The only Apostle who never experienced red martyrdom is also the proto-martyr of desire. Legend has it that that the Apostle of Divine Love, experienced an attempted assassination through a cup of poisoned wine. Instead of dying, he drank fully of this symbol of Jesus’ overflowing love with loyalty, courage and enthusiasm.
A well-known European tradition, is the blessing of wine on his feast. The following is the ritual provided by Catholic Culture:
St. John’s wine, blessed by the priest or sprinkled with water by the father of the family, is served with the main meal. In Catholic sections of Europe, even the children receive a little sip of it after the main course of the dinner. The wine is poured in glasses and passed around to the family and guests. As each glass is given, say:
“I drink you the love of St. John.”
Response will be “I thank you for the love of St. John.”
The following prayer is said over the wine:
Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who has made heaven and earth.
Leader: The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
Leader: Let us pray. Be so kind as to bless and consecrate with Your right hand, Lord, this cup of wine, and every drink. Grant that by the merits of Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist, all who believe in You and drink of this cup may be blessed and protected. Blessed John drank poison from the cup, and was in no way harmed. So, too, may all who this day drink from this cup in honor of Blessed John, by his merits, be freed from every sickness by poisoning and from any harms whatever. And, when they have offered themselves in both soul and body, may they be freed, too, from every fault, through Christ our Lord.
Leader: Bless, Lord, this beverage which You have made. May it be a healthful refreshment to all who drink of it. And grant by the invocation of Your holy name that whoever tastes of it may, by Your generosity receive health of both soul and body, through Christ our Lord.
Prayer Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951