“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.” – From the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1499
Holy Anointing is truly a Sacrament of healing in body and soul. In His time walking among us, Jesus not only taught, but He healed and forgave the sins of many. Early on, He sent the Apostles out. “They anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them” (St. Mark 6:7-13). Later, as the Christian community grew, St. James would instruct in his Epistle, “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” (St. James 5:14-15). This Sacrament is called many things including the Sacrament of Healing and the Sacrament of the Sick. Sometimes, one may hear it called “Extreme Unction” (Last Anointing), which was its name in recent history.
The use of the Sacrament today has been expanded to include once again both the sick and the dying. Often, people refer to it as “Last Rites,” which describes its use along with a final Confession & Viaticum (the last Holy Communion). However, like Confession and Holy Communion, one does not need to be in danger of death to receive this Sacrament. This Holy Sacrament should be received by any Catholic who is preparing for surgery, or who is admitted to the hospital for a serious injury or illness. There may be other reasons to receive the Holy Anointing. Please contact one of our priests to set up a time and place for anointing, preferably before a surgery or hospital stay. Also, if at all possible, please do not wait until a sick or elderly person is unconscious, in order that they may participate in the Sacrament as much as they are able.
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