Celebrated annually during Mass for anyone who is seriously ill (physically or mentally), those facing serious surgery, those in chronic pain, and the elderly. This sacrament may also be celebrated individually (any time of the year) by calling the parish priest.
“Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him. When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet: “He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.” (Matthew 8:14-17)
“He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. (Matthew 4:23-24)
Jesus’ compassion for the sick is a prominent feature of His public ministry. Jesus brings healing for the body and the soul. The Church teaches that Jesus’ work of compassion continues in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (cf. CCC #1115). Already in the Gospel of Mark, we read of the apostles healing the sick through anointing them with oil (cf. Mark 6:13).
The Letter of St. James gives the clearest witness to the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, as he writes, “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters 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 sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15).
Regarding Anointing of the Sick, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1532) teaches the following:
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.