Anointing of the Sick

What is the Sacrament of the 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.”

Where does this Sacrament Come From?
As with all the Church’s seven sacraments, the Anointing of the Sick was instituted by Jesus Christ.  Approximately 20% of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke) and a significant portion of John’s Gospel concern stories of Jesus’ many miracles.  In the case of holy anointing, this sacrament is grounded in Jesus’ healing ministry and suggested to Christians in the Apostolic Church (CCC 1511; Mark 6:13; James 5:14-15)

What Happens with Anointing?
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, this sacrament is intended to heal the recipient not only in soul but in body as well.  Furthermore, this sacrament has the power to forgive sins.

With this anointing, divine grace is imparted to renew the believer’s trust and faith in God while strengthening him or her in the Holy Spirit against anxiety, discouragement and temptation.  Through this anointing, peace and courage are communicated (CCC 1520).  Indeed, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has the powerful effect of uniting the believer to the Passion of Christ for his or her own good and that of the whole Church (CCC 1532).

Who Can Receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick?
There are two main qualifications for someone to receive the Sacrament of Anointing:  (1) danger from illness or advanced age and (2) the use of reason.  The illness should be serious in nature.  Furthermore, recipients should have proper use of reason and be open to reconciliation with God.

When Should Someone Receive this Sacrament?
The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick should be received at the onset of danger for any sick person while he or she is capable of active participation in the ritual.  Family and caregivers are asked not to deprive those they care for from the graces of this sacrament through an unnecessary delay in requesting a priest to administer this sacrament.

This holy anointing is not intended to be received repeatedly unless the sickness significantly worsens or a notable time period has transpired.

How is the Sacrament Received?
Only a priest may administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.  The priest follows the ritual as prescribed by the Church, reciting the appropriate prayers and conveying the sacrament through the laying on of hands, the prayers of faith and the anointing of the sick (preferably on the forehead and hands).

The priest uses the following prayer:  “Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in His love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.  May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”

The priest then anoints the sick person with olive oil that has been recently blessed by the bishop (normally at the most recent Chrism Mass), anointing with a generous use of the oil of the sick.  The generosity of oil signifies the healing and strengthening presence of the Holy Spirit.  Accordingly, the recipient is discouraged from wiping away this holy oil after the anointing.

Any further questions may be directed to the pastor at the parish office.

He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two…They anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

(Mark 6:7, 13)

Homebound or Hospitalized

Saint Veronica offers this Sacrament to all members of the parish and its celebration can be easily arranged:

When you are attending Mass, and, e.g., are anticipating surgery, simply ask one of the priests to celebrate the Sacrament with you.

If unable to be present at the church and you or someone in your family is in need of this Sacrament, please call the Parish Office to arrange for a visit from one of our priests.

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, they can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated.

Finally, for those who are about to leave this life, the Sacrament completes the holy anointings that mark the whole Christian life and fortifies the individual for their final journey. In such cases, the priest will also often offer the Eucharist in the form of Holy Viaticum (food for the journey).

You can ask for anointing of the sick whenever you are in need of strengthening, but especially when:

  • Undergoing surgery
  • Struggling with chronic or serious illness
  • Coping with mental illness
  • Growing older and feeling weaker even though no illness is present
  • During the course of recovery if the condition changes

Spiritual Healing

The healing that occurs in this sacrament of anointing is not necessarily physical healing. While we believe that physical healing can occur through the great power of God, the grace that is infused through this special sacrament is the reminder of the eternal presence of God in our human suffering.

When the priest blessing the oil of anointing, he asks God to “send the power of your Holy Spirit, the Consoler, into this precious oil. Make this oil a remedy for all who are anointed with it; heal them in body, in soul and in spirit, and deliver them from every affliction” (Pastoral Care of the Sick, #123).

“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” (CCC 1531).

What about Last Rites?

Is Anointing of the Sick the same as “Last RItes?” In the event of a loved one actively dying, the priest will celebrate “Last Rites,” which consist of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Communion. Clearly the patient’s medical condition may alter or limit the way any one of the Sacraments can be celebrated.