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.