Stages of Ritual Anointing of the Sick--A Sacrament of the Catholic Church

Everyone is familiar with the term 'Last Rites'. But there is much more to blessing the sick person, within the sacraments of the Catholic church.

Indeed, one need not be dying to receive the anointing of the sick, and this rite, as it is practised in many Catholic churches, is truly a wonderful gift and often a great healing is felt in body, mind and spirit by the recipients.

Sacrament of Anointing

Bishops and preists of the Catholic Church often present healing masses, or anointing mass for the regard of the sick of the parish and the congregation gathered in worship. Those having a sickness are reached by the church in this way and are received by the bishop or priest where they are administered the sacrament of anointing, one of a number of sacraments (such as marriage and confession and baptism) that the Catholic Church considers essential for the soul of the Christian.

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Anointing of the sick and Extreme Unction

The sacrament of the anointing of the sick is a sacrament reserved for the final moments as suggested by the expressions "extreme unction" and "last rites". In ancient practice used in effect  as a sacrament for the seriously ill to the point of death.

It addresses the faithful whose health is beginning to be seriously affected by illness or old age as well as those undergoing a major operation.

2. The purpose and effect of the sacrament of the sick

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is intended to confer a special grace to the Christian experiencing the difficulties inherent in the condition of serious illness or infirmity. It is a sign of God's tenderness for the suffering person.


The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:

- Comfort, peace and courage to endure the suffering of Christians in disease or weakness.

- The forgiveness of sins if the patient could not obtain through the sacrament of Penance;

- The restoration of health, if it suits the spiritual salvation;

--Preparing the transition to eternal life.

HISTORY of the SACRAMENT of ANOINTING OF SICK

This sacrament was already given in the first Christian community.

"If one of you is sick, not necessarily call for the elders of the community will pray for him in doing an anointing with oil in the name of the Lord. Their prayers, inspired by faith, will save the sick, the Lord shall raise them, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. "(Letter to the Christians of Saint John, 5/14-15).

In the third century, Hippolytus of Rome, bishop, reflects  on  a ritual for the anointing of the sick.

1. The anointing of the sick in the beginning

This sacrament was already given in the first Christian community.

"If one of you is sick, not necessarily call for the elders of the community will pray for him in doing an anointing with oil in the name of the Lord. Their prayers, inspired by faith, will save the sick, the Lord shall raise him, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. "(Letter to the Christians of Saint Jacques, 5/14-15). In the third century,

2. The anointing from the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages the sacrament became more defined as something only for devout Christians, and it was reserved as the sacrament of penance close to the time of death, or those on their deathbed.

The Healing Anointing then became the anointing of the dying, or "the last sacrament" and hence the extreme unction was came into it's own  In 1173, and indeed, it was sometimes available only to the wealthy who could pay.  

3. The reform of Vatican II

The Second Vatican Council which proposed to use the words: "Anointing of the Sick". In the Constitution on the liturgy, we read:

"Extreme Unction, and better known as the Anointing of the Sick, is not only the sacrament of those who are in extremis. It is also  timely to receive by those   in danger of death due to physical impairment or old age "(n. 73).

Pope Paul VI promulgated the new ritual of the anointing of the sick 30 November 1972.

CELEBRATION of the SACRAMENT of THE SICK

The preparation of the celebration is entrusted to members of the pastoral care of patients and families.

It may include several stages depending on the condition of the patient, and the urgency of the situation. The personal meditation is most often that the Gospel passage in which Jesus anoints the sick (Luke, 6, 19).

Songs and texts can be chosen to make the celebration more lively. Indeed, many  want to give a festive air to this day: bringing flowers, incense or helping the patient to look their best. 

2. The celebration of the sacrament

The celebration of this sacrament consists of these elements:


- The imposition of hands, a gesture that calls the descent of the Holy Spirit and is silent


- Anointing on the forehead and hands of the patient with the oil of the sick. This anointing is accompanied by a prayer. The priest says:

" by this holy anointing may the Lord in His goodness, comfort you by the grace of the Holy Spirit" and the person responds, "Amen." "So, you have freed from sin, he saves you and relieve you." "Amen."


 The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is celebrated by a priest. "Neither the deacons nor lay people can exercise this ministry. (Code of Canon Law , canon 1003 § 1)

Q: Can I receive several times the Sacrament of the Sick?


Every year in every parish church or sector, it is desirable to have a community celebration of the anointing of the sick. This form of celebration is spreading in many parishes. The anointing of the sick should indeed be celebrated as often as possible in a community.

Relatives, friends, caregivers and companions, and also members of the parish community, must surround the sick care and affection, pray with and for them.

If you wish to receive this sacrament, contact ask your parish priest. 


Gloria from the Chrism Mass

The blessing of the oil of the sick

The oil of the sick is used to bless at the "Chrism Mass" during Holy Week, by the bishop surrounded by all priests.

It is sometimes called oil of the infirm. According to the sacrament, the patient is in line with the whole Church and the Christian community.

If necessary, the oil of the sick can be blessed outside the Chrism Mass with the local priest when celebrating the sacrament .



Chrism Mass

Chrism mass of the CAtholic church
Chrism mass of the CAtholic church | Source

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Sacramental Beliefs
>>>>Only ordained priests can administer it, and any priest may carry the holy oil with him, so that in a case of necessity he can administer the sacrament of anointing of the sick.



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>>> The Catholic Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as Last Rites or Extreme Unction, is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical ...

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Comments 7 comments

Chesterton Wilde profile image

Chesterton Wilde 4 years ago from Quebec Author

suplex: Everything about the Catholic church is awesome and mysterious beyond measure, don't you think? Thanks for reading.


Supplex profile image

Supplex 4 years ago

Awesome hub and very informative. Thanks!


Chesterton Wilde profile image

Chesterton Wilde 5 years ago from Quebec Author

stephane: thank for your comments!

grace: I'm glad it helped out. :)


grace 5 years ago

this site helps me alot ! :]


stephane86 6 years ago

The anointing of the sick is very much a forgotten sacrament. I have been anointed a couple of times, and I think it has helped very much.

Thanks for this hub.


Chesterton Wilde profile image

Chesterton Wilde 6 years ago from Quebec Author

itakins: thanks! ;)


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

A really informative and nicely presented hub-thank you.

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