Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

"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 5.14-15).

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness, the Anointing of the Sick ... Over the centuries the Anointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death. Because of this it received the name 'Extreme Unction'"(#1511-3). However, since Vatican II, the more ancient tradition has been recovered so that the sacrament is given to those who are seriously ill but not necessarily dying by anointing them on the forehead and on the hands with blessed oil. If a sick person's illness worsens or if he/she recovers and falls ill again, the sacrament can be repeated. It should also be received before a serious medical procedure or if a person becomes more frail in the course of a chronic illness or old age.

The Anointing of the Sick is most appropriately received when the sick person can consciously participate in the Sacrament. It should not be delayed until the person is on the point of death.

For those near death, the Church provides the reception of Holy Communion known as "Viaticum" (that is, "the provision for the journey") accompanied by prayers for the dying, including the Litany of the Saints, and the bestowal of a plenary indulgence.

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is celebrated after the 9 a.m. Mass on the first Saturday of the month in the lower church. A group celebration of the Anointing occurs at the 9 a.m. Mass on the World Day of the Sick, February 11.

Appointments for the individual celebration of the Sacrament and for Viaticum can be made by calling the rectory (516-489-8585).