The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick
Like all Sacraments of the Church, the Anointing of the Sick continues the ministry of Jesus, especially to the sick and infirmed. The Anointing of the Sick has been practiced in the Church since the earliest times: "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters (priests) of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven" (James 5:14-15)
The prayers associated with the Anointing of the Sick pray for strength, perseverance, recovery and return to fullness of health. THEREFORE, THE PROPER TIME FOR THE PRIEST TO BE CONTACTED FOR THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK IS:
- WHEN THE PERSON BECOMES SERIOUSLY ILL,
- OR IS ABOUT TO BE ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL,
- OR IS SCHEDULED FOR SURGERY.
The Anointing of the Sick may be repeated in the case of a new illness, or a radical change in the present illness, but is not to be regularly scheduled as a "blessing of the sick."
We remember the words of Jesus "Your faith has saved (healed) you" which become operative in the Anointing of the Sick. The candidate for Anointing or a member of his/her family should request the priest to schedule the Anointing in the above situations.
It is important to note that this Sacrament is NOT associated with "Last Rites" which are prayers that can be led by a priest, deacon or even a member of the family as the time of death is imminent.
COMMUNAL ANOINTING OF THE SICK
Occasionally the Anointing of the Sick and Elderly may be celebrated during the Mass. At Holy Spirit we schedule such communal anointing usually twice a year around the months dedicated to protecting and fostering respect for human life. There will be ample notification in the parish bulletin regarding the communal Anointing of the Sick.