“By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priest, the whole Chrch commentds those wo are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely niting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.” LG 11
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. The sacrament of the Anointing is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with the Oil of the Sick which has been blessed by the Bishop at the Cathedral on Holy Thursday. He prays: “Through this holy anonting may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”
The Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. This Sacrament strengthens those who are in need of healing in body, mind or spirit. It is for those who are preparing for surgery, for those who have a chronic illness and for the elderly who are fragile of health because of age.
Like all sacraments the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration, whether it takes place in the family home, a hospital or church, for a single sick person or a group. It is very fitting to celebrate this sacrament within the Eucharist.
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 the good 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 conductive to the salvation of his soul.
- The preparation for passing over to eternal life.
The Anointing of the Sick completes our conformity to the death and Resurrection of Christ, just as Baptism began it. Come, feel the healing power of God.