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Anointing of the Sick

The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick usually is offered the last weekend of the month after all Masses. It is celebrated when someone is in the hospital, seriously ill or actively dying.


Catholic Anointing of the Sick

“Are there people sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the Church, and let the priests pray over them anointing them in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14

Sacraments are a very real encounter with Jesus. They use the stuff of life, such as bread, wine and oil, to bring healing, strength and forgiveness to us. Sacraments are meant to be celebrated at important milestones in our lives: birth, marriage, ordination, and as we near the time of death.

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was previously most commonly administered to the dying (this used to be known as Last Rites), for the forgiveness of sins and the provision of spiritual strength and health. It was done privately and often times the person receiving the sacrament might have not been conscious. Today, however, its use has been expanded to all who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, and the Church stresses a secondary effect of the sacrament: to help a person recover his/her physical and/or spiritual health. When possible, it is celebrated in a community with the person and family members present. It is meant to bring peace and healing to the person being anointed as well as give comfort to family members.

We understand that this is a difficult time in your family’s life and we would like to assist you as much as possible with your spiritual needs. With the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, it is not necessary to wait until death is imminent to ask the priest to come and anoint your loved one. It is comforting to celebrate this sacrament while the person receiving the sacrament is conscious and surrounded by family and friends who can pray with and for the person being anointed.

It is good practice to have the priest visit and anoint your loved one as soon as possible. By having the priest come earlier, the gifts of the sacrament may give comfort and peace to your loved one as well as to your family. Sacraments are celebrated for the living; they are a real encounter with Jesus. When the priest arrives, he will pray with the individual and family (if present). Then he will anoint the individual with the Oil of the Sick, tracing the sign of the cross on the forehead and the palms of the hands while saying prayers for healing and strength. Once a person has died, the priest may bless his/her body and pray with family and friends of the deceased so that they may have the grace to handle the days to come.

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick provides the recipient with a number of graces, including the strength to prepare for death, make his/her suffering holy; and grant fervent hope to enter eternal life with God. May the Lord bless you and your loved ones with peace.

The Catholic Parishes of Haverhill

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