ANOINTING OF THE SICK
Please note that THIS IS NOT THE LAST SACRAMENT as it is sometimes mistakenly called.
“In my name…they will lay their hands on the sick and thy will recover” (Mk 16:17-18)
The Church has received this charge from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick as well as by accompanying them with her prayer of intercession.
The apostolic Church has its own rite for the sick, attested to by St. James: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call in the presbyters of the Church and let them pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up ” (James 5:14-15)
Who can receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick?
Many people are afraid of this Sacrament and put it off until the last minute because they think it is a sort of death sentence. In fact it is the opposite: the Anointing of the Sick is a sort of life insurance. Any Catholic can receive this sacrament as soon as he or she begins to be in danger of death because of sickness or old age. It can be received several times if the illness becomes worse or another serious sickness afflicts them. The celebration of his sacrament should if possible be preceded by individual confession on the part of the sick person.
This sacrament can be administered only by priests.
The effects of this Sacrament:
It unites the sick person more intimately to Christ. It gives comfort, peace, courage and even the forgiveness of sins. If it is the will of God this sacrament also restores the physical health.
Viaticum is the Holy Eucharist received by those who are about to leave this earthly life and are preparing for the journey to eternal life.