The Sacraments » Anointing of the Sick

Anointing of the Sick

During His public life Jesus identified Himself with the sick and suffering, and much of his ministry was dedicated to miracles of healing and forgiveness. His compassion for the sick continues in the life and ministry of the Church, particularly in the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.  The passage from the Letter of James is the scriptural basis for the Anointing of the Sick, the sacrament through which the church continues to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus. 

This Sacrament is not only for those at the point of death, but should be administered by a priest to a baptized Catholic, whether practicing or not, who has reached the age of reason and who begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age, or who will be having a serious surgery, who is weakened, though not dangerously ill, because of old age.

The sacrament can be received whenever the sick person again falls into a serious sickness after convalescing or when a more serious crisis develops during the same sickness.  The Church encourages the celebration of this sacrament within the Celebration of Eucharist, with special prayers and readings.

In the home or hospital the priest begins with the sign of the cross and the sprinkling with holy water recalling our Baptism. Depending on the condition of the sick person, the priest may read from the Scriptures and offer prayers. The priest then imposes hands over the head of the one to be anointed and anoints the forehead and hands of the sick person. The priest prays for the sick person, and invites those present to pray The Lord's Prayer.  Communion may be received.. The priest then blesses the sick person and all those present.

More information:

  • Parishes may at times arrange for the sacrament to take place in the church for those who are able to come.
  • For more information, or to arrange for the sacrament for someone who is ill contact the pastor of your parish or mission.
"Is there anyone sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him and anoint him in the name of the Lord. This prayer, made in faith, will save the sick man. The Lord will restore his health, and if he has committed any sins, they will be forgiven."
(James 5:14-15)

Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.  May the Lord, who frees you from sin, save you and raise you up.

(Paul VI)