When a Catholic is very sick, the Church anoints the person with oil in the special ritual of healing called Anointing of the Sick. The sacrament of anointing of the sick is administered to the dying and to those who are gravely ill, those who are about to undergo a serious operation or those suffering from a long-term illness, for the recovery of their health and for spiritual strength. It is a ritual of healing, appropriate, not only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.

“Is anyone sick among you? Let them bring in the “priests” of the church, and let them pray over them.” James 5:14

This sacrament is a true sacrament instituted by Christ and proclaimed by Saint James. It is administered by anointing with blessed oil accompanied by prayer. Only a priest can validly administer it. It can be received by any baptised person who has reached the age of reason and is given on account of sickness or age or in danger of death. Its effect is the strengthening of the soul often of the body as well, and in the necessary conditions, remission of sins. This rite is one way in which the church continues the healing ministry of Jesus. The healing offered by this anointing is forgiveness of sins, hope and inner peace, sometimes physical healing and an assurance of God’s steadfast care, even in death.

In the past, this sacrament was often kept strictly for those close to death traditionally referred to as Extreme Unction or Last Rites. In more recent years, the Church has encouraged greater use of this sacrament for illness which is not necessarily life-threatening. As with all the sacraments, this anointing has significance for the whole Church. It reminds us of our call to wholeness and our call to be a sign of salvation to the world. Wherever there is brokenness we are to be instruments of Christ’s healing touch.

If you or a family member would like to receive this sacrament, please call 02 9644 4026.