ANOINTING OF THE SICK
Those who are seriously ill or about to undergo serious surgery are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. In the event of an emergency, please call the rectory to make arrangements with a priest.
If you are unable to attend church, call the Rectory Office so that a Eucharistic Minister can bring you the Eucharist.
Illness, especially catastrophic illness, puts everything in perspective. We realize, when facing a life threatening disease, that nothing matters except recovering our health. Concerns that preoccupied us seem unimportant as we face surgery and the possibility of imminent death. Loved ones, their care, support and prayers become vitally important. And as people of faith we turn to God for healing and strength in our weakness.
Christ’s compassion toward the sick and the numerous healings he performed in the Gospel accounts, tell us that he identifies with us in our infirmities and that he can restore us to health. In the sacraments of the church, Christ is with us still, forgiving our sins, bringing us peace, and continuing to touch us with holy words in the scriptures, healing hands, holy oil, and in His body and blood, food and drink for our pilgrimage home.
From ancient times, the sick have called upon Christ, present in the church, to forgive and heal. The apostle James records a ritual for the sick in the fifth chapter of his letter:
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders (priests of the church) and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
Tradition has recognized in James’ words, the sacrament of the sick. The sacrament of the sick is given to those who are seriously ill. The priest, with the gathered family and loved ones, prays for the Spirit’s healing presence, laying hands upon the head of the sick, and then anointing them on the forehead and hands with blessed oil.
No longer called last rites, this Anointing is not a sacrament for those only at the time of death. As soon as a person is in danger from illness or old age, it is the right time to receive this healing sacrament. The entire church prays for recovery. Right before a serious operation is a fitting time for Anointing. It is best that the whole family gather around their loved one to pray with the priest. If the sacrament is offered during Mass, the whole assembly prays for restoration to health, for strength, forgiveness, and the grace of God. The sacrament can be repeated if there is a change in the person’s condition. All sacraments are for the living, hence the dead are not anointed. A simple prayer for the departed can be offered by the family.