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Anointing of the Sick During Mass

During the course of the year the parish will have a special Mass for those who desire to receive the Anointing of the Sick  during Mass.

Some may ask who this Mass is for and who may be anointed.  These sort of questions come up every year which makes it a good opportunity to teach what thechurch teaches about this precious sacrament.

PCS = Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum

The Candidate:
The Sacrament of Anointing is appropriate for those whose health is seriously impaired
by sickness or advanced age. This includes persons who are seriously ill whether at
home, in hospitals or in nursing homes, as well as seriously sick children who are old enough to
experience benefit from the Sacrament.  See PCS 5, 8, 11, and 12.

Norms For Readiness
The only requirement for this sacrament is theawareness of serious illness or danger of death.

Why do we anoint against physical illness, and who is healed physically?:

PCS 3: Part of the plan laid out by God’s providence is that we should fight
strenuously against all sickness and carefully seek theblessings of good health, so
that we may fulfill our role in human society and in theChurch. Yet we should
always be prepared to fill up what is lacking in Christ’s sufferings for the
salvation of the world as we look forward to creation’s being set free in the glory
of the Children of God. (see Colossians 1:24; Romans 8:19-21)

PCS 6: . . . A return to physical health may follow thereception of this sacrament if it will be beneficial to thesick person's salvation.
See the attached.


1. May a person with a serious mental illness be anointed? The sacrament of anointing can be administered to those who have a serious mental illness and who can be comforted by the sacrament (pCS #53). Many psychological illnesses are indeed serious, especially those classified as psychoses. However, theminister should exercise caution before anointingpersons with serious mental illnesses. Such cases should always be handled on an individual basis in consultation with the person's physician.

2. May a person who is developmentally disabled be anointed?  Developmentally disabled persons who lackthe full use of reason, such as the mentally retarded, can be anointed if they can be comforted by thesacrament.  They do not need to have an intellectual understanding of the sacrament or the ability to express their faith rationally; they only need the capacity to be strengthened by the celebration.  Mental retardation and other developmental disabilities, however are not illnesses but rather permanent conditions of persons.  Persons with sick conditions must have a serious illness to be anointed.

3. May a person who is elderly and/or handicapped be anointed?

The elderly, those suffering from the maladies of old age, usually those 65 years of age and older, may periodically receive the sacrament of anointing.  Likewise, those who are chronically ill and those who are permanently disabled are appropriate candidates for thesacrament of anointing.

4. At a communal anointing service, may a general invitation be extended to all present to come forward to be anointed?
No. According to the Church's law (cc. 988, 1004.1) and in the rite for the pastoral care of the sick (8), thesacrament may be administered only to those who are seriously ill, specifically those who begin to be in danger due to sickness or old age. This includes those about to undergo surgery when a serious illness the reason forthe surgery (PCS #10).

5. May someone other than a bishop or priest anointthe sick?
The practice of lay persons anointing the sick has been encouraged by some prayer groups and retreat houses. There is serious danger of simulating the sacrament in such instances. Everything should be done to discourage a practice that leads to confusion in theminds of people. Under no circumstances is it appropriate to give out to people any of the oils which have been blessed at the Mass of Chrism. These should be kept only for the sacrament administrated by a priest.  All shoudl be reminded that the anointing of thesick is for those who are seriously ill.

 Christ is truly among His people as the priest Anoints the Sick during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Priest will Lay Hands on the person to be Anointed.  This is a silent prayer, an action, an invoking of the Holy Spirit.  That is to say that just in the simple gesture of laying hands the priest calls down the Holy Spirit to heal in ways that only God knows the sick person needs healing, body, mind, and spirit.

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a beautiful Sacrament of Healing, Reconciliation, and Peace.