December 20, 2020

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On behalf of Fr. Melmer, Fr. Alemão and Mr. Charles Wilton, I wish you a blessed and happy Christmas for all the eight days of the Octave, all twelve days of Christmastide, all forty days until Candlemas and especially on the third day.

December 27 is the Feast Day of our parish patron, St. John. This year the third day of Christmas falls on Sunday, which in the Ordinary Mass will be the Solemnity of the Holy Family and in the Extraordinary Form is the Sunday in the Octave of Christmas, both of which are admittedly more significant that St. John no matter how beloved he happens to be, which is considerable.

Under the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, St. John was banished to the Greek island of Patmos, a small (10 miles by 6 miles) volcanic island in the Aegean Sea, near the coast of Turkey, where he was granted the vision of the Heavenly Jerusalem which he recounted in his Apocalypse (“apocalypse” means “unveiling”). During the reign of Trajan, he returned to Ephesus where he lived to a very, very old age. He was the only one of the Apostles who was not martyred, although not for his enemies’ lack of trying. According to legend, St. John was served poisoned wine, but survived because he blessed the wine before he put it to his lips; the poison rose from the chalice in the shape of a serpent. In his happy memory, Catholics bring wine to church, which the priest blesses, turning it into a sacramental called the “Love of St. John.” Catholics would use this sacramental wine for special occasions throughout the year and to give to the sick.

A traditional toast to St. John on his Feast Day involves the Father of the house lifting his glass toward his bride saying, “I drink you the love of St. John.” Mom replies “I thank you for the Love of St. John” and she then turns to the oldest child with her glass raised, saying, “I drink you the love of St. John…” and on it goes down the line until each has been toasted. The wine may be drunk as is or might be mulled. We can recommend the recipe at www.fisheaters.com/ customschristmas4.html

For many reasons we will not be able to have our customary rectory Open House on the Feast of St. John. Raise a toast to better times.

“Drink the love of St. John!”

Merry Christmas! Cheers!

Fr. Christopher J. Pollard