Throughout his ministry, Christ ministered to the sick by healing them “body and soul.” He even identified himself with them saying, “I was sick and you visited me.” We continue to celebrate the care of those who are ill through the Sacrament of Anointing, which brings grace upon the recipient.
According to the Catechism, the effects are “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.”
There is no limit to the number of times you can receive this sacrament. You should contact a priest if someone is in danger of death, if they are seriously ill or advanced in years. Many people receive the sacrament before surgery. The priest uses the oil of the sick, which has been blessed by the bishop and anoints the sick person on the forehead and hands and prays the prayer of healing. This sacrament can be repeated later if the illness becomes more serious or if other issues arise. It is not the same as the Viaticum, which is Communion and prayers for those near death.
If you or someone you know would like to receive anointing, contact the parish office. We also offer two Masses each year with communal anointing of the sick: one during the Easter season and one organized by the St. Vincet dePaul Society in August (which features a luncheon afterwards). Please contact the office or check the calendar for a current listing.