Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

Categories: Questions of Faith

“Is any man sick among you? Let him send for 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 has any sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:14-15)

Who can receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?

Any member of the faithful can receive this sacrament as soon as he or she begins to be in danger of death because of sickness or old age, including before any major surgery. It is not only for those on the point of death.

Can it be given more than once?

Yes, the sacrament may be given several times if the illness becomes worse or if another serious sickness occurs.

How is this sacrament celebrated?

The priest lays hands on the head of the sick persons and anoints with the holy oil of the sick, blessed by the bishop. The anointing is on the forehead and on the hands, accompanied by the prayer of the priest who asks for the special grace of this sacrament. If possible this should be preceded by individual confession on the part of the sick person.

What are the effects of this sacrament?

This sacrament confers a special grace which unites the sick person more intimately to the Passion of Christ for their good and for the good of all the Church. It gives comfort, peace, courage and even the forgiveness of sins if the sick person is not able to make a confession. Sometimes, if it is the will of God, this sacrament even brings about the restoration of physical health. In any case this Anointing prepares the sick person for the journey to the Father’s House.

What should I do?

If you wish to receive the sacrament of Anointing yourself, or know someone who would benefit, speak to one of the priests and they will be happy to make arrangements.

Most important:  Do not leave it until it is too late. The sacraments are only for the living and it is much better to be cautious and request the sacrament early.

Read more

Catechism 1499-1532.


Author: Fr Andrew