The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, one of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, used to be called “the Last Rites” or “Extreme Unction” because it was usually reserved for the dying person. But since 1972, the sacrament is available and recommended not just for the dying but for all Catholics who are “sick” in any way.
And so, if someone is diagnosed with an illness, is struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety, is awaiting surgery, has a chronic condition, is suffering with chronic pain, or feels in need of healing, it is fitting to receive this sacrament.
There are three parts to this sacrament: the prayer of faith, the laying-on of hands and the anointing with oil. In the prayer of faith, the whole community prays to God for the person receiving the sacrament. The laying-on of hands on the person’s head is a sign of blessing, a prayer for the presence of the Holy Spirit and reminds us of the way in which Jesus healed: “and he laid hands on every one of them and healed them” (Luke 4:40b). Anointing the forehead and hands with oil symbolizes healing, strengthening and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
In addition to other settings, it has become a common practice to celebrate this sacrament during a designated Mass. The sacrament invites us to place our trust in God, to open ourselves to the Spirit’s presence and to acknowledge Jesus as the source of all strength for our journey.
Please join us on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the 4 p.m. Mass to receive the Sacrament of Anointing, if you are in need, and/or to pray for those who will receive this Sacrament.