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Above resources are courtesy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
The pastoral care of the sick and dying has always been an integral part of the Church’s mission entrusted to it by Jesus: “I was sick and you visited me” (Matthew 25:36).
Anointing of the Sick (formerly known as Extreme Unction or the Last Rites) is administered to bring spiritual and even physical strength during an illness, and near the time of death. It is a sacrament of healing and a prayer for physical and spiritual health. While Jesus (and the Apostles) performed miraculous healings, the Anointing of the Sick should not be seen as simply asking for physical healing. When we are sick, we may suffer physically and spiritually. The act of anointing with oil is a sign of strengthening. In this understanding, the Anointing of the Sick – while our prayers may include asking for a miracle – is about strengthening and knowing that God is with us granting us peace, love, and grace.
The anointing of the sick is meant for the living. If there is a Catholic person in your family who is ill, chronically sick, growing weaker, disabled or preparing for surgery, he/she is welcome to receive the anointing of the sick. If a family calls for the anointing of a loved one, it is a great support for the sick person to have their family and friends present during the actual anointing. Contact your parish priest to schedule an appointment.
WHEN TO BE ANOINTED
Do not delay anointing. Receive the sacrament during the early stages of illness. This is NOT the “last rites”.
The sacrament can be repeated whenever the sick person again falls into a serious sickness or whenever a more serious crisis develops during the same sickness.
NEAR THE TIME OF DEATH:
Although a priest is on call day and night, please contact the priest early. Do not wait until the sick person is in a coma or actually dying. You can help; an honest word with the sick may be less cruel than to let them die without having the consolation of consciously settling their spiritual affairs.
In case of an emergency, a priest is available at any time. Please notify the parish when someone from your family is admitted to the hospital. We will put them on our prayer list for the sick and visit them, if possible. The administration of sacraments in a hospital, however, is under the pastoral care of the assigned Catholic chaplain.
Anointing of the Sick
1526 "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters 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" (Jas 5:14-15).
1527 The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has as its purpose the conferral of a special grace on the Christian experiencing the difficulties inherent in the condition of grave illness or old age.
1528 The proper time for receiving this holy anointing has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age.
1529 Each time a Christian falls seriously ill, he may receive the Anointing of the Sick, and also when, after he has received it, the illness worsens.
1530 Only priests (presbyters and bishops) can give the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, using oil blessed by the bishop, or if necessary by the celebrating presbyter himself.
1531 The celebration of the Anointing of the Sick consists essentially in the anointing of the forehead and hands of the sick person (in the Roman Rite) or of other parts of the body (in the Eastern rite), the anointing being accompanied by the liturgical prayer of the celebrant asking for the special grace of this sacrament.
1532 The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: