Anointing of the Sick

07-30-2023Pastor's LetterVery Rev. Richard C. Wilson, VF, Pastor

Dear Friends in Christ,

“When the Church cares for the sick, it serves Christ himself in the suffering members of his Mystical body. When it follows the example of the Lord Jesus, who “went about doing good and healing all” (Acts 10:38), the Church obeys his comment to care for the sick (see Mark 16:18) (Prot. No. 1501/72, Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship)

The Catholic Church teaches that anointing of the sick is one of the seven sacraments instituted by Christ. It is mentioned indirectly in Mark 6:13 and specifically commended to the faithful by James the apostle: “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:14-15)

In general terms the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is offered to those facing a serious illness or disease or before surgery whenever a serious illness is the reason for the surgery. The elderly may be anointed if they have become notably weakened even though no serious illness is present. Children of the age of reason who are seriously ill may also be anointed.

If possible, the person receiving the Sacrament of Anointing should always receive the Sacrament of Penance first. Anointing of the Sick can be considered to be the completion of the Sacrament of Penance in a similar way that Confirmation completes Baptism.

There are at least three ways in which sacramental grace is provided to those who receive the Anointing of the Sick. First, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is a healing sacrament. A return to physical health may follow the reception of the sacrament if it will be beneficial to the sick person’s salvation. Second, the anointed person receives spiritual and perhaps even bodily strength and comfort in their trial. This provides them comfort and consolation and allows them to be witnesses for the faith in the midst of their illness. Third, the Sacrament allows the sick person to unite their suffering with that of Christ’s, for his own good and for the good of the Church. (Col 1:24)

The Church teaches that the faithful should ask for the sacrament of anointing as soon as the right time comes and receive the sacrament with full faith and devotion. Family members should not wait until a sick family member is on the death bed, but rather request anointing when he or she gets seriously ill. To receive the Sacrament, please call the parish office and request an anointing.

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for thou art my praise.” (Jeremiah 17:14)

All the best…in Christ,

Father Wilson