Jesus compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “ I was sick and you visited me” (Mt 25:36). “The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: Reconciliation (Penance) and the Anointing of the Sick” (CCC 1420).
The Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death (Extreme Unction), it is also given to those who are seriously ill for strengthening, peace, and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with serious illness or the frailty of old age (CCC 1513, 1520).
Only bishops and priests may be ministers of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. A penitential rite followed by the Liturgy of the Word opens the celebration. Scripture awakens the faith of the sick and family members and friends to pray to Christ for the strength of his Holy Spirit. The priest lays his hands on the head of the sick person. He then proceeds to anoint, with the blessed Oil of the Sick, the forehead and hands of the sick person (in the Roman Rite). He accompanies these acts with the words, "Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up." (CCC 1513).
Moreover, "old people may be anointed if they are in weak condition even though no dangerous illness is present. Sick children may be anointed if they have sufficient use of reason to be comforted by this sacrament. . . . [The faithful] should be encouraged to ask for the anointing, and, as soon as the time for the anointing comes, to receive it with faith and devotion, not misusing the sacrament by putting it off" (Rite of Anointing, 11, 12, 13).
The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient. The Sacrament may be repeated if the sick person recovers after the anointing but becomes ill once again, or if, during the same illness, the person's condition becomes more serious. A person should be anointed before surgery when a dangerous illness is the reason for the intervention (Rite of Anointing, Introduction, 8-10).
“In my name … they will lay their hands on the sick and they will recover” (Mark 16:17). The anointing of the sick is a sacrament of the Church in which the priest prays and, lays hands and anoints the sick person with blessed oil. It may be preceded by the sacrament of Reconciliation and followed by the Eucharist.
The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FLDC, 2005).
For those who are about to depart from this life, the Church offers the person Penance, Anointing of the Sick, and the Eucharist as Viaticum (food for the journey) given at the end of life. These are "the sacraments that prepare for our heavenly homeland" (CCC 1525). These rites are highly valued by Catholics as powerful aids to a good death. Since Holy Communion is the effective sign of Christ's Paschal Mystery, it becomes for the recipient the opportunity to unite one's own suffering and dying to that of Christ with the hope of life eternal with him. The special words proper to Viaticum are added: "May the Lord Jesus protect you and lead you to everlasting life. Amen."
For further Readings on the Anointing of the sick, please follow the link below:
If you are seeking the sacrament of Holy Anointing of the Sick, please contact the church offices and a priest will be notified.