The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick offers a special grace to a Christian burdened by serious illness or old age.
“By the holy anointing of the sick and the prayers of the priests, the whole Church commends the sick to the suffering and glorified Lord, to relieve their sufferings and to save them; she even invites them to unite themselves willingly to Christ’s passion and death, and thus to contribute to the well-being of God’s people.”
The right time to receive the Holy Unction is surely when a believer is in danger of death because of illness or old age. If a sick person recovers after receiving the Anointing of the Sick, he or she can receive the sacrament again if he or she becomes seriously ill. During the same illness, the sacrament can be repeated when the illness worsens. Suitable for receiving the Anointing of the Sick and before major surgery. The same should apply to the elderly as their strength declines. Only priests and bishops can administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick; they use oil consecrated by the bishop and, if necessary, by the celebrant himself.
The essential rite of this sacrament is the anointing of the forehead and hands of the sick person, accompanied by a prayer from the priest administering the sacrament, asking for the special grace of this sacrament. The fruits of the special grace of the sacrament of the anointing of the sick are:
– the union of the sick person with Christ’s suffering for his own sake and for the sake of the whole Church;
– comfort, peace and courage to endure the sufferings of sickness or old age in a Christian way;
– Forgiveness of sins, if the sick person could not receive it in the Sacrament of Penance;
– regaining health, if it is for the salvation of the soul;
– preparation for eternal life.
To anoint the sick, contact one of the priests and arrange a time. It is important to try not to delay the anointing of the sick person until the last moment, when he or she is dying or unconscious, so that the sick person can receive this sacrament consciously. If the patient is in danger of death, the priest should be contacted immediately.
(According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church)