Anointing of the Sick
The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it best, “The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness,..”(CCC1511). We find the instruction to anoint the sick in the Book of James in the New Testament:
“Is anyone among you sick?* He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven,” (James 5:14).
The anointing gives both spiritual and, if it be in accord with God’s will, physical healing. The recipient’s sins are forgiven and they are strengthened by prayers. The rite of anointing may be a simple ceremony with the individual at home, in a hospital or healthcare facility, or may be incorporated into a Mass or in a group setting. The rite includes anointing on the forehead and palms of the hand with blessed oil.
Who can be anointed?
Historically anointing of the sick was reserved for those near death. The Church recognizes the benefit of this sacrament for anyone who is seriously ill, may be undergoing a serious operation or, due to old age, may be in a frail condition. It is no longer reserved solely for those who are in danger of imminent death. The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick may also be repeated for a prolonged illness or anytime deemed appropriate by the minister.
How do I arrange for Anointing of the Sick?
If you are in a hospital or healthcare facility, simply notify the staff and they will contact your parish priest or the chaplain on call. If you are homebound call the parish office to schedule a time for the priest to visit. In case of an emergency most parishes will have an emergency extension to contact a priest immediately. This is to be used only for a true emergency.