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Sacraments > Anointing of the sick

What is Anointing of the Sick?

Anointing of the Sick is one of the two Sacraments of Healing. The other Sacrament of healing is the Sacrament of reconciliation. This sacrament is a powerful and effective sign of Jesus' presence that brings strength and healing to the sick, the elderly and the dying. The celebration of this sacrament can help the sick get well again. When that does not happen, the sacrament helps the sick face their illness with faith and trust. It also helps dying people continue their faith journey to God in heaven.                                      

 This sacrament’s name has changed over time. It was once called extreme unction, which means "the last anointing," and has been referred to as part of the "last rites." The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls it "the anointing of the sick," (CCC 1511). The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick conveys several graces and imparts gifts of strengthening in the Holy Spirit against anxiety, discouragement, and temptation, and conveys peace and fortitude (CCC 1520). These graces flow from the atoning death of Jesus Christ, for "this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases’" (Matt. 8:17). The Church exhorts the Christian who is ill to unite with the Passion and Death of Christ.

Who can receive Anointing of the Sick?

The Anointing of the Sick can be administered to any baptized member of the faithful who, having reached the age of reason, or begins to be in danger by reason of illness or old age. This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person had recovered after his previous reception of anointing. It can also be conferred again if, during the same illness, his dangerous condition becomes more serious." Individuals who are planning to enter the hospital or anticipating out-patient surgery are particularly encouraged to receive the sacrament before their admission or surgery.

The sacrament of anointing of the sick does NOT replace the sacrament of reconciliation!!!

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." (The Catechism No. 1532)

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