The Anointing of the Sick is for the healing and spiritual strengthening of those who are impaired by sickness, disease, or old age. A person about to undergo surgery may also be anointed.
This sacrament is for the sick, not just for the dying, so please request the sacrament when illness is discovered. It is good practice to request the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick before admittance to hospital for surgery. Also please note that we celebrate Anointing of the Sick in the context of Mass at least twice a year. We encourage the sick and elderly to come to these Masses.
This sacrament has been practised since the earliest days of the Church. Until recently, the emphasis was on preparation for death, and it was referred to as “Extreme Unction” or “The Last Rites”. However, emphasis has been restored that it is a prayer for the physical and spiritual healing for all seriously ill persons. The Sacrament should not be deferred until the person is seriously ill and on the point of death.
If you are going into a public hospital there are Catholic Chaplains who will arrange the anointing, as well as bring you Holy Communion. Let the hospital know that you are Catholic at the time of admission. At any time you can ask the nursing staff to call for the Catholic Chaplain.