Anointing of the Sick
“Are there any who are sick among you? They should send for the priests of the Church, and let the priests pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick persons, and the Lord will raise them up; and if they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them.” (James 5:14)
Anointing of the Sick is a Sacrament of Healing which gives one grace as strengthening of peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that are associated with disease, illness and/or dying. This Sacrament, formerly known as Last Rites or Extreme Unction is administered to bring spiritual, emotional, and even physical strength and healing to persons who are suffering from any type of illness or facing death. As one of the Sacraments of Healing, it conveys God’s grace into the anointed person through the power of the Holy Spirit. Along with the grace for healing, this Sacrament brings forgiveness of sins. Therefore only a priest can administer Anointing of the Sick.
In the Imitation of Christ’s “Compassion In the Gospels”, Christ’s great compassion toward the sick is expressed in the miraculous healings he performs, which heal the entire person, both body and soul. Parables such as the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:29-37) and the Judgment of the Nations (Mt. 25:31-46) urge Christ’s followers to share his ministry of compassion and healing and to imitate his “preferential love for the sick” and all who suffer.
Who Can Receive this Sacrament?
Anointing of the Sick is the sacrament that is received by those who are ill or suffering. By the sacred anointing and the prayer of the priest, the whole Church commends those who are sick to Christ. The sick person receives the Holy Spirit’s gifts of strength, faith, peace and courage, and his or her suffering is united with the suffering of Christ, for the building up of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1520-23). Anointing of the Sick can be given to anyone who is in extreme danger of dying, is suffering from a serious illness including any type of mental illness or addiction, or prior to undergoing any type of major surgery. It can be given more than once in a person’s lifetime.
This sacrament should be requested as soon as one becomes aware of a serious illness or upcoming surgery. It is the Church’s most powerful prayer for strengthening of body, mind, and spirit. Just as you would not wait to give medicine to a sick person, neither should the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick be withheld or delayed. The Sacrament of Anointing is available any time by appointment.
To schedule an appointment or for more information contact your parish office.