The anointing of the sick is administered to bring spiritual and even physical strength during an illness, especially near the time of death.
St. James gives us the Bible’s most explicit and eloquent record of this sacrament: “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing 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; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven” (Jas 5:14-15).
In this passage above, the “elders” are the priests (from the Greek: presbuteroi). The priests are the ordinary ministers of the rite, which consists of anointing the sick person with oil blessed by the bishop.
The Sacrament’s Institution
Like all the sacraments, holy anointing was instituted by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry . 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 in Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord” (CCC 1511; Mark 6:13; Jas 5:14-15).
Does a person have to be dying to receive this sacrament?
No. The Catechism says, "The anointing of the sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death." (CCC 1514). The 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 (CCC 1520). These graces flow from the atoning death of Jesus Christ, for "this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, 'He took our infirmities and bore our diseases'" (Matt. 8:17).
"The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church; the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of penance; the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul; the preparation for passing over to eternal life" (CCC 1532).
If you or a family member would like to receive this sacrament prior to surgery, during an illness, or once diognosed as being terminally ill please email or call the Parish office at (512) 353-8969 to make an appointment to receive the sacrament from one of our priest. For those near death emergencies call the Parish Office PLEASE DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST DAYS, HOURS, OR MINUTES OF LIFE BEFORE CALLING.