Anointing of the Sick
The experience of sickness and suffering is one of the fundamental experiences of our lives. Sickness always strikes the whole person in his physical, mental and spiritual being. It causes uncertainty and anxiety in us, reduces activity and zest for life, thwarts our plans, sometimes leading us to loneliness. Illnesses are often associated with pain and make us aware of our frailty and mortality.
Assistance and support
In this situation of failing health the sick need not only medical attention and care, but also the assistance and support of people around as well as the edification of faith. A number of passages in the Bible, for example, the healing of the sick, show the great concern of Jesus for the sick; he even identifies himself with them (see Matthew 25:36). The care of the sick is therefore of great importance in the Church's tradition.
At home, in the hospital or in the Church
In keeping with the tradition we celebrate a special sacrament to strengthen the sick: the anointing of the sick. It is a liturgical and communal celebration, which can be held at home, celebrated in the hospital or in the church. Over the years, the anointing of the sick was administered more frequently to the dying, hence it gained the moniker "the Last Rites". But the sacrament should be administered not only in extreme life danger, but also during serious illness or loss of vitality concomitant with advancing age. Anointing may be received several times in the course of life. The Anointing of the Sick is meant to strengthen, soothe, encourage – in short, to give healing to body and soul!
Communal Celebration of the Anointing of the Sick
Please follow the instructions of your parish church which offers a regular communal celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. You may also contact your parish office to make an appointment for an individual anointing of the sick.