I have been at the parish for almost three months now.
One of the ministries that has been a significant part of
my time has been Anointing of the Sick, especially for
patients on hospice. I thought it might be a good thing
to review what we believe about the Sacrament of
Anointing of the Sick.
Before the Second Vatican Council the Sacrament
went by two names: Last Rites and Extreme Unction.
These terms were used because the Sacrament was
seen as primarily a help for those passing from this life
to eternal life. Anointing of the Sick still has this
function, but it is much more, hence the change in
name. “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” (United States Catholic Catechism for
Adults, 253). Many people still believe it is only for
Anointing of the Sick is Biblical. It comes from the
Letter of James. “Is anyone among you sick? He
should summon the presbyters [priests] 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 5:14-15).
The sacrament is not just for the dying, but for the sick
and older persons in weak condition and those
preparing for surgery. The effects are “uniting of the
sick person to the passion of Christ…, giving the sick
person strength, peace, and courage…, imparting the
forgiveness of sins if the sick person was not able to
obtain it through the sacrament of” Reconciliation/
Confession, “providing for the restoration of health, if
it is conducive to the salvation of his soul,” and only
finally “helping the sick person in the preparation for
passing over to eternal life.” (USCCA, 255).
Anointing of the Sick is for the living, not just for the
A Note from Fr. Jason 10/25/20: