Another Sacrament of Healing is the Sacrament of the Sick. We hear in the letter of St. James
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”(James 5:14-15)
“By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.”(CCC 1499)
In essence, the Sacrament of the Sick confers a special grace on Christians suffering from a serious illness or old age. Only a bishop or priest can administer this Sacrament.
During the celebration of this Sacrament, the priest or bishop lays their hand on the sick, or elderly person and prays for a special grace and then anoints them with the Oil of the Sick, typically on the forehead and both hands.
Remember the Sacrament of the Sick is not only for those who are moments from death; rather, it is for anyone facing a serious operation, or where there is a danger of death due to old age or illness. Unlike, Baptism, Confirmation, or Holy Orders, the Sacrament of the Sick can be repeated.
The effects of this Sacrament are many and include:
- A special grace of the Holy Spirit to help strengthen, grant peace and courage to the individual to help them overcome the difficulties that may go with their illness or old age.
- Renews trust and faith in God and strengthens the individual against temptations and discouragement.
- Uniting the sick person to the passion of Christ, for both their good and the good of the whole Church;
- Forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain forgiveness through theSacrament of Penance;
- Restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of their soul (e.g. if it is God’s will);
- Preparation for passing over to eternal life.
Anyone over the age of reason (Age 7) can and should readily receive the Sacrament of the Sick. If you or a family member is interested in receiving the Sacrament of the Sick please contact one of the parish priests. Also if you or a member of your family cannot attend mass due to a serious illness or old age and would like a pastoral visit or to receive Holy Communion we encourage you to contact the parish office.
For more information on the Sacrament of the Sick please see CCC paragraphs 1499-1532.