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Anointing of the Sick

Q: What is anointing of the sick and why does the Church have this sacrament?

"The Catholic Church professes and teaches that the anointing of the sick is one of the seven sacraments of the New Testament, that it was instituted by Christ our Lord," intimated in Mark (6:13) and through James, the apostle and brother of the Lord, recommended to the faithful and made known: ‘Is there anyone sick among you? Let him send for the presbyters of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, they will be forgiven him.’ (James 5:14-15)." PCS p.13.

"Our mission as Church is to do what Jesus did. And on nearly every page of the Gospels, we read of Jesus’ concern for the sick. Healing was essential to the mission of the disciples. In the course of time, the focus of the sacrament shifted from healing to forgiveness of sins and the time for receiving the sacrament was delayed to the deathbed when forgiveness of sins would also be the final preparation for heaven. . . The Second Vatican Council wanted to remedy this situation. [It] placed the sacrament once again in the context of mutual prayer and concern described in the Epistle of James. Anointing ‘is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death’ but is intended for all those who are seriously ill." (Excerpt from the Catholic Update entitled Anointing of the Sick: A Parish Sacrament by Fr. Thomas Richstatter)

Q: What are the conditions under which a person can receive the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick?

A: "...the sacrament of the anointing of the sick is given to all who suffer from serious illness and infirmity." (Catholic Catechism #1523) Included are people who suffer from addictions, those who suffer from mental disorders, people about to undergo surgery, caregivers who are seriously affected by the illness of another, etc. "The Sacrament of Anointing does not remove the mystery of human suffering. Yet its celebration gives us a window into the mystery of a loving God."

If you have a loved one or know of someone in need of the sacrament of anointing of the sick, please call the Ministry of Care line, or the parish office to arrange for anointing. Our parish also offers anointing at special anointing masses for the sick throughout the year. You may call the office for more information.

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