Anointing of the Sick

Like all the sacraments, holy anointing was instituted by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry.

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick conveys several graces and imparts gifts of strengthening in the Holy Spirit against anxiety, discouragement, and temptation, and conveys peace and fortitude. The sacrament is sometimes referred to as Last Rites, but is available to any Catholic in need of healing.

The Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived. (CCC 1514)

The Catechism explains, “This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord.” (Mark 6:13; Jas. 5:14-15)

It is ideal if a priest or deacon is present at the time of death, but in situations where that’s not possible, the Commendation of the Dying and the Prayers for the Dead may be said by a lay chaplain or one of those present.