Anointing of the Sick
"The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick
and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed." Acts 5:16
The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is celebrated at least twice annually at a designated weekend Mass. This sacrament is always available upon request. Parishioners may contact the parish office to arrange to be anointed prior to surgery or to be visited at home when ill.
The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick used to be called Extreme Unction, latinized words that mean "last anointing". But since the Second Vatican Council, the richness of the sacrament has been better appreciated. It is not intended primarily for the dying, although it is administered appropriately at the time of one's last illness and approaching death and is a fitting preparation for our journey through death into eternity. However, it is also intended as a very special, sacramental prayer for healing during any illness.
A Catholic should request the sacrament whenever a serious illness occurs and also prior to surgeries, which always carry a certain risk of complications. It may be administered only by a priest (or bishop), and it brings with it special blessings to those who receive it reverently, in addition to its power to bring healing, including the forgiveness of all past sins. (Despite this last benefit of forgiveness, it may be appropriate for a person to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation [Confession] at an opportune time when he or she has recovered.) In the case of a chronic or long term illness, it is fitting to repeat the sacrament periodically (perhaps every six months) or whenever there is an acute spike in the illness which may be serious or life-threatening.