When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God's will, the person be physically healed of illness. But, even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit's gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.
Does a person have to be dying to receive this sacrament? No. The Catechism says, “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.” The Sacrament can be administered while the person is sick and is not close to death, and can be given more than once.
If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person's condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced. (CCC 1514-1515)
The celebration of the sacrament includes the following principal elements: the "priests of the Church"- in silence - lay hands on the sick; they pray over them in the faith of the Church - this is the epiclesis proper to this sacrament; they then anoint them with oil blessed, if possible, by the bishop (CCC 1519).
If circumstances suggest it, the celebration of the sacrament can be preceded by the sacrament of Penance and followed by the sacrament of the Eucharist. As the sacrament of Christ's Passover the Eucharist should always be the last sacrament of the earthly journey, the "viaticum" for "passing over" to eternal life (CCC 1517).
Requesting Anointing of the Sick
At St. Mary, if you would like a priest to give a loved one an Anointing of the Sick, call the Parish Office at 760-745-1611 x100 during normal business hours and request it. If you call outside of normal business hours, call 760-745-1611 and choose option 7 after the main message to contact the “on-call” priest.