Annointing of the Sick

Persons who get very sick or become much weakened by long-term illness, and persons who are in immediate danger of death, are the usual recipients of this sacrament. A presbyter (priest) anoints individuals by placing holy oil on their foreheads and hands. 

In the 9th century a European church custom involved the anointing of the sick and dying in a “sacrament of the sick.” By the 12th century this ritual was viewed as a last anointing before one’s death and passage over to eternal life. By the 16th century, the time of the Council of Trent, Catholics had begun to speak of a sacrament called extreme unction. Church leaders have ordered, in more recent times, that this be known as anointing of the sick.

The church states that the following can and should receive this sacrament of the sick:

1) Those dangerously ill due to sickness or old age

2) Older persons, if they are in a weakened condition, even though no dangerous illness is present

3) Sick children, youth, and adults if they have sufficient use of reason to be comforted by this sacrament

4) Individuals who have been anointed during an illness may receive this sacrament again if their danger becomes more serious

5) A sick person can be anointed before surgery whenever a dangerous illness is involved

6) Persons who lose consciousness or the use of reason may be anointed if as faithful Christians they would have sought the sacrament if they were still in control of their faculties. Church presbyters are not permitted to anoint the bodies of individuals who have already died, but if there is any doubt whether a person has or has not died, the sacrament may be administered conditionally.

Sacred Heart usually offers an Anointing Mass in Spring and Fall, which is announced in the Bulletin. Utilizing the Anointing Mass can be helpful in avoiding emergency situations when a priest might not be available. Private Anointing can be scheduled by calling the Parish Office at 524-2412.