Anointing of the Sick

Anointing the Sick Stained Glass"The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness, the Anointing of the Sick.  This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord (CCC 1510-11).
The Church offers us the comfort of the Anointing of the Sick at times when we are in need of a reminder of the nearness of Christ and his care for us.  We all experience illness in the course of human life. There are times when that illness is serious or threatening and the grace of the sacrament as well as the peace of mind of being attended to by Christ is both a comfort to the mind and a joy to the soul.   

When a serious need arises (or the effects of elder age are the reason for the supervised care) an effort should be made to call for the parish priest (if ill at home) or chaplain upon arrival at a health care facility.


The Church no longer envisions the anointing as being received moments before death. It is prudent, given the small number of priests available, that the sacrament of Anointing be received before serious or life threatening illness occurs or before the patient loses consciousness. The anointing should not be postponed until moments before death.


The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick may require a sacramental confession first. Feel free to request that from the priest.


'Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders [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).