In celebration of our lives within the Christian Mystery, the Church has always provided Sacraments for the healing of body and soul. These include the Sacraments of the Anointing of the Sick and Reconciliation.
How to ask for the Sacrament
Please call the parish if you or someone you know is ill and in need of Anointing of the Sick. Often, due to privacy regulations, hospitals do not inform the parish if you are sick. Please tell the hospital chaplain you wish to see your priest. The priests at St. Mary’s and St. Augustine’s are always ready to offer you this important Sacrament.
About the Anointing of the Sick
Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems we confront in human life. In illness, people experience powerlessness, limitations, and if serious enough illness can even make us glimpse death. In illness we look for comfort and meaning and search for God. Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a sign that Jesus has the power to heal the whole person, soul and body.
The Church teaches that the Anointing of the Sick is not just a Sacrament for those only at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful senses a mental, spiritual or physical illness it is a fitting time for them to receive this Sacrament. If a sick person who received this anointing recovers health, they can receive this Sacrament again. It is also fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation and the same holds true for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced.
Viaticum, the Last Sacrament of the Christian
Over the centuries the Anointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death. Because of this it received the name “The Last Rites.” While that title is no longer used the Church still offers those who are about to leave this life Anointing and Holy Communion as “viaticum” (which means “food for the journey.”) Received at the moment of “passing over” to the Father we prepare for the journey to our heavenly homeland.
For more information on the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick see the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (paragraphs ¶1499-1532)