ANOINTING OF THE SICK
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a ritual of healing through which God strengthens and supports those who are struggling with physical, mental, or spiritual illness. When given at the time of death this sacrament is called "Extreme Unction" or "Last Rites".
The ritual involves prayer and anointing the sick person's forehead and hands with chrism (blessed oil). (Oil has long been a symbol of strength.) The sacrament may be delivered privately (in a hospital room, for example) or as a communal event.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that when the sick are anointed they should be "assisted by their pastor and the whole ecclesial community, which is invited to surround the sick in a special way through their prayers and fraternal attention" (1516). "Like all the sacraments, the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration…It is very fitting to celebrate it within the Eucharist" (1517).
Whether or not God uses this sacrament as a vehicle for physical healing, spiritualhealing occurs. As the sick person is reminded of God's eternal presence and love (even in the midst of our suffering), s/he finds renewed strength and comfort. All healing comes, of course, through the power of God as we are reminded in the blessing of the oil:
[God,] "send the power of your Holy Spirit, the Consoler, into this precious oil. Make this oil a remedy for all who are anointed with it; heal them in body, in soul and in spirit, and deliver them from every affliction" (Pastoral Care of the Sick, #123).
To Learn More . . .
Catechism of the Catholic Church, beginning with Paragraph 1499.
If you have a specific question, try doing a search on Catholic Answers, Catholics United for Faith, or EWTN.
Fr. LeRoy Schik — Pastor
Office Phone: 218-864-5619
Cell Phone: 218-316-2524
If office is closed, please call Father Leroy or Father Peter directly
Fr. Peter VanderWeyst — Pastor
Office Phone: 320-876-2240
Cell Phone: 320-287-2926