Anointing of the Sick
Arrangements can also be made with the Parish Office for the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
What is the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?
Anointing of the Sick is one of the seven Sacraments, and is associated not only with bodily healing but with forgiveness of sins. Only priests can administer it,and "any priest may carry the holy oil with him, so that in a case of necessity he can administer the sacrament of anointing of the sick."
The Catholic Church sees the effects of the sacrament as follows. As the sacrament of Marriage gives grace for the married state, the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick gives grace for the state into which people enter through sickness. Through the sacrament is given a gift of the Holy Spirit that renews confidence and faith in God and strengthens against temptations to discouragement, despair and anguish at the thought of death and the struggle of death; it prevents from losing Christian hope in God's justice, truth and salvation.
The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:
- the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his 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 to obtain it through the sacrament of penance;
- the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
- the preparation for passing over to eternal life."
The sacrament can be administered within Mass, which is the preferred manner. If the celebration takes place outside of Mass, it can be held in the home, in a hospital or institution, or in church. The rite begins with a greeting by the priest, followed by sprinkling of all present with holy water, if deemed desirable, and a short instruction.There follows a penitential act, as at the beginning of Mass. If the sick person wishes to receive the sacrament of penance, it is preferable that the priest make himself available for this during a previous visit; but if the sick person must confess during the celebration of the sacrament of anointing, this confession replaces the penitential rite. A passage of Scripture is read, and the priest may give a brief explanation of the reading, a short litany is said, and the priest lays his hands on the head of the sick person and then says a prayer of thanksgiving over the already blessed oil or, if necessary, blesses the oil himself.
The actual anointing of the sick person is done on the forehead, with the prayer "Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit", and on the hands, with the prayer "May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up". To each prayer the sick person, if able, responds: "Amen."