Anointing of the Sick


“Any one of you who is ill should send for the priests of the church, and they must anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him.  The prayer of faith will save the sick person and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:14-15).

This is the sacrament among the seven instituted by Christ that is specifically intended to strengthen and heal those who are sick.

The sacrament of anointing of the sick is given to those who are seriously ill.  It can be received as many times as needed.  It is also fitting to receive this sacrament prior to a serious operation and the “same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced” (C.C.C. 1515). Despite the catechesis that the Church continues to give, many Catholics still regard this sacrament as “Last Sacrament” and because of this some are unwilling to ask their pastor or Catholic chaplain for it because of fear of death.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit anointing strengthens and gives peace and courage to the sick and overcomes the serious condition of ill health or the frailty of old age.  It also gives the sick the grace of a closer union with Christ and His passion.  To those at the point of departing from this life, the anointing completes their conformity to the death and resurrection of Christ. It fortifies the end of our earthly life for the final struggle before entering the Father’s House. (Cf Catechism of the Catholic Church #s 1520-1523).