Resources for Eucharistic ministers, including liturgical, ritual and pastoral recommendations, exploring the way in which the sacraments of healing affect and influence one’s daily Christian life.
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Anointing of the Sick
In the love of God His Father, Jesus Christ has come to heal the whole human person, soul and body. He continues to show his faithfulness and compassion and solidarity towards the sick: "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases." (CCC: 1505) As St. James says, "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call the presbyters of the Church and let them pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord" (James 5:14-15). The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick confers a special grace of the Holy Spirit on Christians who are suffering from serious illness, and not exclusively on the faithful who are at the point of death (CCC: 1514).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What do Catholics believe about the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick?
In solidarity with the sick, the Church believes and confesses "the life-giving presence of Christ, the physician of souls and bodies" in this "sacred anointing" (CCC: 1509; 1511). "But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses." (CCC: 1508) The liturgical actions signify what grace the sacrament confers upon the sick: (i.) a gift of the Holy Spirit who grants fortitude and renewal of trust and faith in God especially against the temptations of the evil one; (ii.) union with Christ in His redemptive suffering and death; (iii.) the restoration of health if it is conducive to their salvation; (iv.) an ecclesial grace sanctifying the Church on earth; (v.) sacramentum exeuntium that completes all the holy anointings that mark the whole Christian life and prepares the final journey of those who are at the point of departing this life.
The sacrament is connected to divine absolution through the Church: as administered by the priest, the anointing has effects of "the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance". (CCC: 1520-1523; 1532)
2. Is the Sacrament called the "Last Rites"?
No. The Church believes and teaches that the sacrament is not a sacrament only for those who are at the point of death but for those among the faithful, including children reaching the age of reason, who "begin to be in danger of death from sickness or old age". (CCC: 1514)
3. May someone receive this Sacrament more than once?
Yes, and at the discretion of the priest. (Cf. CCC: 1515) One should ask for a priest to confer the sacrament again in any situation of grave illness, whether the situation is persisting, recurring, worsening, or a newly developed one and so on.
4. Who should confer the Sacrament?
A Roman Catholic priest is necessary to confer the Sacrament.
5. What is physically done in this Sacrament?
The "priests of the Church"—in silence—lay hands on the sick; they pray over them in the loving faith of the Church in the hope of Holy Spirit to come and act; they then anoint them with sacred oil. (CCC: 1519).
6. Does the Church ever anoint someone who is already dead?
No. Sacraments are for the living. The Church cares deeply about who are present at the death of a loved one and the family of our faithful departed. Please get in touch with your pastor or deacon or lay assistant if you wish to receive pastoral care and the prayers of your parish family.
7. How do I arrange for the Sacrament?
Current practices at Ontario hospitals make it easily the responsibility of the patient or their families to declare the patient's religious affiliation at admissions. For the Sacrament to be arranged, it is absolutely crucial that you or your immediate family let the hospital administration (e.g., a nurse or a physician) or the hospital chaplaincy know
- that you are Roman Catholic and
- that you would like to ask for a priest especially if his immediate visit is desirable.
A Roman Catholic priest is necessary to confer the Sacrament.
Make sure your parish know about your wish to receive the Sacrament. If you are not attending a parish currently, phone one of our many parish families to discuss your circumstance.
8. Should children receive this Sacrament?
When a baptized child is in danger of death, he/she may be confirmed, and celebrate First Holy Eucharist at the time of Anointing by the priests of the Church.
To learn more about the Anointing of the Sick, these resources may help:
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Resources
If you wish to email or call to purchase these resources contact customer service agent: 1-800-7691147 or email: email@example.com or fax: 1-613-241-5090.
On-line purchase links are shown below.
Understanding the Sacraments of Healing: A Rite-Based Approach by Randy Stice
Guiding readers through the rites of Penance and Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick, Understanding the Sacraments of Healing examines each of the rites’ Old Testament foundations, liturgical history, and sacramental theology, exploring the way in which the sacraments of healing affect and influence one’s daily Christian life.
ISBN: 9781616712495 CCCB Code: USH-000 $24.95 CAD
Online purchase: Sacraments of Healing;
Communion of the Sick Ritual and Pastoral Notes for Lay Ministers - Revised Second Edition
This pocket-size ritual for lay people who bring the Eucharist to the sick features: •Pastoral notes and rubrics for Communion to the sick; •Ritual for Communion to the sick; •Scripture readings using NRSV translation; •Other rituals and prayers appropriate for lay people; •French ritual for Communion to the sick-for use in bilingual areas; •Prayer for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
The booklet also contains the following excerpts from the complete edition of Pastoral Care of the Sick: •Communion in ordinary circumstances; •Communion in a hospital or institution; •Viaticum outside Mass; •Commendation for the dying; •Prayers for the dead; •Selected readings from sacred Scripture.
ISBN: 9780889977716 CCCB Code: 182-426 $9.95 CAD
Online purchase: Communion of the Sick Ritual Order Form
Communion of the Sick – Prayer Card
This user-friendly card may be used by Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion when bringing Communion to the sick and shut-ins. The single, two sided card, includes the Rite of Communion in ordinary circumstances. The Rite is presented in a clear and simple manner with rubrics in red and the leader’s parts in bold-face type. 1-9 copies $2.00 10+ copies $1.60 CAD
ISBN: 9780889977228 CCCB Code: 182-419
Online purchase: Prayer Card
Handbook for Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
by Nancy Cunniff
As an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, your ministry goes far deeper than helping the priest give out the Eucharist. In fact, says Nancy Cunniff, “you serve the whole community by sharing with them the mystery that makes us one body.” In this inspiring booklet, Cunniff helps you understand meaning of the communal celebration of the Eucharist and your role and responsibility as a member of the assembly. You’ll get a deeper understanding of the communion rite and the practical, theological, and ritual dimensions of your ministry. With prayers and reflections written specifically for extraordinary ministers, you’ll find yourself newly refreshed in your love for the Eucharist. Handbook link