Sacrament of Anointing

How do I receive the Sacrament of Anointing?

Call the Priest Emergency Number: 757-448-5251

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When do I request this Sacrament?

  1. Upon becoming ill in mind, body or spirit.
  2. When suffering from a long-term illness in which there is a significant change in condition.
  3. If in danger of imminent death (possible death in 48 hours)

A person who is deceased does not receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, but rather their soul is prayed for.

What is this sacrament for?

A sacrament is an outward sign established by Jesus Christ to confer inward grace. Anointing of the Sick is a brief ritual performed by a priest to convey God’s grace to the recipient, through the power of the Holy Spirit. This particular sacrament was once associated closely with the idea of making one’s last confession before death—this is how the popular phrase “last rites” came into being. However, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is not just for people who are near death. When the priest anoints a person’s forehead and hands with consecrated oil, he prays for the person to receive spiritual and even physical strength during an illness as well as when approaching death.

What are the effects of this sacrament?

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ (for their own good and that of the whole Church); the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; the forgiveness of sins (if the sick person was not able because of advanced illness to obtain it through the Sacrament of Reconciliation); the restoration of health (if it is conducive to the salvation of their soul); and preparation for passing through death into eternal life.

It is important to remember that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick complements medical treatment; it does not replace it. God uses the skill of modern medical techniques as well as the mystery of sacrament during our illness.

Anointing of the SickWhere do I receive this sacrament?

While many associate the reception of Anointing with the hospital bed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that when the sick are anointed they should be “assisted by their pastor and the whole ecclesial community, which is invited to surround the sick in a special way through their prayers and fraternal attention” (#1516). “Like all the sacraments the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration . . . It is very fitting to celebrate it within the Eucharist” (#1517). In the Cluster, you might be anointed after a daily Mass surrounded by your faith community, or in a smaller setting, as well as when you might find yourself in a hospital or ill at home.

For all of these reasons, do not put off requesting the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Your priests wish to extend to you the real presence of Our Lord in this very special way during your illness.

RESOURCES

To learn more about of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, click here.

To explore Catholic teaching on illness, suffering, death, and medical technology issues click on the links below.

End of Life Care (The National Catholic Bioethics Center)
Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) (The National Catholic Bioethics Center)
National Catholic Bioethics Center (The homepage for this organization, where you can find facts and resources on many issues.)
On the Meaning of Human Suffering (by Pope John Paul II)