anointing of the sick

Anointing of the Sick

The celebration of the sacrament of the sick (anointing) can take place in the home, in a hospital or institution, or in church. It is a sacrament for those whose health is seriously impared by sickness or old age.

It is administered by a priest.

Because of its very nature as a sign, the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick should be celebrated with members of the family or of the community whenever this is possible. Then the sacrament is seen for what it is, a part of the prayer of the Church and an encounter with the Lord.

If the sick person wishes to celebrate the sacrament of Penance, it should be in private beforehand.

When we celebrate the sacrament, we invoke the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ among us. For as the gospels tell us, over and over again, the sick came to him for healing; moreover he loves us so much that he died for our sake.

St. James: “Are there any who are sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the Church and let them 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 5:14-15

It is important that the priest should know beforehand the physical and spiritual condition of the sick person.

The Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness, invasive surgery, or old age, the fitting time for them to receive this sacrament has already arrived.

There are three distinct and integral aspects to the celebration of this sacrament: the prayer of faith, the laying on of hands, and the anointing with oil.

Prayer of Faith: The community, asking God's help for the sick, makes its prayer of faith in response to God's word and in a spirit of trust. The entire Church is made present in this community assembled to pray for those to be anointed. If they are able, the sick persons should also join in this prayer.

Laying on of Hands: The gospels contain many instances in which Jesus healed the sick by the laying on of hands or even the simple gesture of touch. The laying on of hands is clearly a sign of blessing as we pray that by the power of God's healing grace the sick person may be restored to health or at least strengthened in time of illness. "They brought the sick with various disease to him; and he laid hands on every one of them and healed them."  Luke 4:40 

Anointing with Oil: To anoint the sick with oil signifies healing, strengthening and the presence of the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. Thus, they are strengthened to fight against the physically and spiritually debilitating effects of illness.

If the sick person is able to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist, inform the priest, so that he may bring the host.

If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his/her health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced. 

Please call the parish office for information.             

For more information on Anointing of the Sick, please watch the following short video produced by the Paulist Fathers:  Anointing of the Sick