Anointing of the Sick
“By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1499)
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is given to those who have encountered a serious illness that is threatening to them. The sacrament gives the supernatural grace first to resist the final temptation to despair our Lord’s mercy, but it also gives healing of the soul of venial sins and sometimes even healing of the body.
In the final moments of a Catholic’s life, he can be given what is known as the Last Rites. These Sacred Rites constitute the full arsenal of the Church’s blessings and graces that she has to offer the dying Christian. The priest who comes can hear the sick person’s confession. He can give these rites can immediately Confirm a Catholic in the faith if he has not yet received this sacrament. The priest then also gives Anointing of the Sick to the sick, gives the sick the Apostolic Pardon, and finally the sick is able to receive Viaticum. The Apostolic Pardon is a special blessing all priests are able to give as an individual approaches death to which a plenary indulgence is attached. If the individual is well disposed to received this indulgence, then by the merits of Christ’s cross he is released from the need of purgatory. Holy Viaticum is the final reception of the Holy Eucharist, the ‘food for the journey.’ Indeed, what better way can there be to prepare for death than to receive the very foretastes of eternal life, the very Body and Blood of Christ?
The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is available upon request, and it is celebrated communally each first Saturday of the month after the 8:30 am Mass.
If you know of someone who is sick and is unable to leave home or the hospital, please let your priest know, because we make it a priority to visit those who are sick and dying.
If someone is close to death, please call the parish office and use the emergency priest line to inform a priest as quickly as possible, even if it is the middle of the night. Every Catholic should be able, if possible, to receive all of the graces the Church has to offer in the final moments of life.