If anyone of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him.
While the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has been known by many names, including “Extreme Unction” and “Last Rites,” it is acknowledged that this does not fully recognise the purpose of the sacrament. It is no longer considered to be reserved for those in danger of death, but rather can be received by anyone who is seriously ill or injured, or who is elderly.
This sacrament helps unite those who are suffering with Jesus' saving and healing power, as it focuses on forgiving the sins of the recipient and comforting them in their suffering. Through this sacrament, people are restored in spirit, and sometimes can even experience the return of physical health.
While suffering is a part of life, we can unite our suffering with Jesus’ passion and death so that through our suffering we can participate in his saving and healing work. This sacrament also reminds us that God wants to comfort those who are suffering and wants us to relieve suffering wherever we can.
In the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the priest anoints the seriously ill, injured, or the elderly with the oil of the sick. The oil of the sick is a specially blessed oil used for this sacrament. It is blessed by the bishop annually at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week.
The person receiving the sacrament is often offered Holy Communion. When a person is dying, the Communion is called viaticum (food for the journey). For a dying person, this sacrament helps prepare them for their journey to eternal life.
While the anointing sometimes occurs in the church, where it is given to the sick or elderly in a community setting, it often takes place in homes, nursing homes, and hospitals. For example, a person who is going to have surgery may be anointed. The sacrament may be received more than once, such as when a sick person's condition worsens.
In the Rites of the Anointing of the Sick, the priest anoints the sick person on the forehead, saying, “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” He also anoints the sick person on the hands, saying, “May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up. Amen.” The “raising” refers to spiritual healing, as well as any physical healing that may take place.
If you are seriously ill, injured or elderly, you may receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. To arrange this, please get in touch with the parish here. In an emergency, please call our parish priest on 01506 822339. If no-one is available please call 07817 510 850 and we will arrange for a priest to visit as soon as possible.