“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.” -Catechism of the Catholic Church 1499The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is administered to the dying as well as to those who are gravely ill or about to undergo a serious operation. This sacrament of mercy and healing offers prayers for the recovery, but its primary intention is to give spiritual strength and calm the soul of the one suffering from illness. Traditionally, this sacrament was referred to as Extreme Unction or Last Rites.
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.
When to Call a Priest
Diagnosis of serious disease: call parish to come in and meet with priest.
Terminal Diagnosis: call parish to come in and meet with priest.
Homebound: call parish to schedule a visit within a given week.
For the integrity of the sacrament the priest will hear the confession of the person to be anointed.
“Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude…Illness can lead to anguish…It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.”-Catechism of the Catholic Church 1500-1501
“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…The Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived….If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he 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. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced.” -Catechism of the Catholic Church 1511, 1514-1515