Anointing of the Sick

This is the Sacrament by which, through the prayers of a priest and the
anointing with olive oil (blessed by the Bishop), a person who is in
danger of death from sickness is given health of the soul and sometimes
also of the body. The olive oil which is used by the priests is blessed at
the Chrism Masses celebrated during Holy Week.

In the Old Testament, sickness was experienced as a sign of weakness
and perceived as mysteriously bound up with sin. Jesus’ compassion
toward the sick was a clear sign that, with Him, the Kingdom of God had
come, with victory of sin, suffering and death. The modern celebration of
the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick recalls the early Christian
use, going back to biblical times. When Christ sent His disciples out to
preach, "they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were
sick, and healed them" (Mark 6:13).

Traditionally referred to as Extreme Unction or Last Rites, the Sacrament
of the Anointing of the Sick was previously most commonly administered
to the dying, for the remission of sins and the provision of spiritual
strength and health. In modern times, however, its use has been
expanded to all who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious
operation, and the Church stresses a secondary effect of the sacrament:
to help a person recover his health. Like Holy Communion and
Confession, to which it is closely linked, the Sacrament of the Anointing
of the Sick can be repeated as often as is necessary.

James 5:14-15 ties physical healing to the forgiveness of sins: “Is any
man sick among you? Let him bring in the 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 shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him
up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.” ---

The celebration of this sacrament consists essentially in an anointing
with oil on the forehead and on the hands of the sick person,
accompanied by the prayer of the priest who asks for the special grace
of this sacrament. This grace unites the sick person more intimately to
the Passion of Christ for his good and the good of all the Church. It gives
comfort, peace, and courage, and sometimes, if it is the will of God, this
sacrament even brings about the restoration of physical health.

Those who are in need of this Sacrament are asked to contact the
parish office to make arrangements. It is prudent to receive the Anointing
of the Sick prior to serious operations or whenever there is a serious
danger to health. We ask the families of Corpus Christi and St. Stephen
to contact the parish on behalf of loved ones who may be seriously ill or
near death. This sacrament can be repeated as often as necessary.