Anointing of the Sick

In the Catholic Church, Extreme Unction or the Last Rites is the anointing at the time of death. Since the Second Vatican Council, this sacrament is now called the Anointing of the Sick and has been broadened to offer healing and comfort in times of illness that may not lead to immediate death. Speaking about a wider implementation of this sacrament, Pope Paul VI advocated for “a wider availability of the sacrament and to extend it—within reasonable limits—even beyond cases of mortal illness."

Through the sacrament of anointing, Christ strengthens the faithful who are afflicted by illness, providing them with the strongest means of support. Jesus showed great concern for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the sick and commanded his followers to do the same. The celebration of this sacrament is an opportunity for the deepening of the faith of the community who are able to witness the faith and devotion of those being anointed.

This is a ministry of comfort. Through Anointing, the sick are reminded that Christ and the Church are in communion with their suffering. The Holy Spirit shares the blessings of health, trust in God, and strength against temptation.

Spiritual Healing

The healing that occurs in this sacrament of anointing is not necessarily physical healing. While we believe that physical healing can occur through the great power of God, the grace that is infused through this special sacrament is the reminder of the eternal presence of God in our human suffering.

When the priest blessing the oil of anointing, he asks God to "send the power of your Holy Spirit, the Consoler, into this precious oil. Make this oil a remedy for all who are anointed with it; heal them in body, in soul and in spirit, and deliver them from every affliction" (Pastoral Care of the Sick, #123).

Annual Mass for the Anointing of the Sick

In addition to those times when a priest visits a parishioner who wishes to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the Parishes of the Blue Hills Collaborative also celebrate an annual mass for anyone who wants to come to be anointed and hear words of comfort in the setting of a mass.

This year, the mass will be held Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 11:00 am at St Anne Parish. All are welcome.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Anointing of the Sick:

1526

 

"Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 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" (Jas 5:14-15).

1527

 

The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has as its purpose the conferral of a special grace on the Christian experiencing the difficulties inherent in the condition of grave illness or old age.

1528

 

The proper time for receiving this holy anointing has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age.

1529

  Each time a Christian falls seriously ill, he may receive the Anointing of the Sick, and also when, after he has received it, the illness worsens.

1530

 

Only priests (presbyters and bishops) can give the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, using oil blessed by the bishop, or if necessary by the celebrating presbyter himself.

1531

 

The celebration of the Anointing of the Sick consists essentially in the anointing of the forehead and hands of the sick person (in the Roman Rite) or of other parts of the body (in the Eastern rite), the anointing being accompanied by the liturgical prayer of the celebrant asking for the special grace of this sacrament.

1532

 

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.
 


Who May Receive?

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick gives strength and support and can be administered to anyone struggling with an illness.

To arrange to receive the Anointing of the Sick from one of the priests at the Blue Hills Collaborative either for yourself or a loved one, please call the Collaborative offices at 857.342.9500 during normal business hours. Outside of business hours, please call the rectory at 617.364.9500. Please do not use the online form for this purpose.


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