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, 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.”
Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest of problems confronted in human life. In illness, people experience their powerlessness and their limitations. Every illness can make us perceive more clearly our mortality.
Anointing of the Sick, along with Reconciliation, is one of the Sacraments of Healing. By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives a strengthening of faith and the gift of being united more closely to Christ in his Passion. In a certain way, he or she is consecrated to bear fruit by being united to Christ’s redemptive Passion. Restoration of health can be a grace of the sacrament if it will be beneficial to the person’s salvation.
What Does the Sacrament Do?
- Unites the person to the passion of Christ, for his/her own good and that of the whole Church
- Fortifies the person with peace and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or the frailty of old age
- Forgives sins if the person is unable to receive the sacrament of penance due to disposition of health or availability of the sacrament
- Returns the person to physical health if it will be beneficial to their salvation
- Prepares one spiritually and emotionally for passing over to eternal life
Who Can Receive the Sacrament of Anointing?
The Sacrament of Anointing should be received when someone is:
- Preparing for surgery and, when during the course of recovery, their condition worsens
- Struggling with serious or chronic illness
- Coping with emotional illness
- Nearing the end of their life
(see more FAQ's below)
To Request the Sacrament
Call the church office at (323) 254-2519 to request to be anointed at the hospital or at home. You can also come to the office and request the duty priest to anoint you.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How is the Sacrament celebrated?
After prayers are offered and scripture is read, the priest lays his hands on the head of the person being anointed. With Holy Oil, he makes the sign of the cross on the person’s forehead and palms of the hands and prays: “Through this Holy Anointing, May the Lord in his love and mercy, help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. And may the Lord who frees you from sin, save you and raise you up”
How frequently can I receive the Sacrament?
Each time a person falls seriously ill, he or she may receive the Anointing of the Sick, and also if there is a change in health, an upcoming surgery, or periodically (4-6 months) for those struggling with chronic illness.
Where can the Sacrament be celebrated?
At church, at the hospital, in your home, the sacrament may be received by an individual or as part of a group of people being anointed.
Should I also go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
Yes, within a reasonable time before or after being Anointed. (about 1week). If meeting individually with the priest, the person is encouraged to go to Confession with the priest before being Anointed. For those who are in a state of health where they cannot speak, or if Confession is not available, one of the graces bestowed by the Anointing is the forgiveness of sins.
What are the “Last Rites” and are they the same as the “Anointing of the Sick”
Last Rites was the name given to the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick (called Extreme Unction) and the Eucharist (called Viaticum) when administered to someone who was near death. Anointing someone near the end of their life became so common in the Catholic Church that the Sacrament was commonly referred to as “Last Rites”.
What is Viaticum?
Viaticum is the reception of the Eucharist, in or outside of Mass, by someone who is at the very end of life. “Viaticum” is Latin for “provisions for the way”. When in their passage from this life, the faithful are strengthened by receiving the Eucharist. They have the pledge of the resurrection that the Lord promised: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.” (John 6:54) In the Rite of Viaticum, a special Apostolic Pardon is given to one receiving Communion.
What is Extreme Unction?
Extreme Unction is the proper name for Anointing of the Sick when it is administered to one who is nearing the very end of life.
"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."
Letter of James 5:14-15