Anointing of the Sick

Many Catholics picture the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick as a priest standing at a hospital bedside. Since the Second Vatican Council, Catholics today picture parish members gathered for Eucharist, with people—some visibly ill, some apparently perfectly healthy—coming up the aisle to be anointed, some with their spouses or caregivers.

Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14
Receiving the Sacrament

The faith community of Saint John Vianney Parish celebrates the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick every Thursday morning during 7:00 am Mass. There is no need to preregister or call ahead. Parish members and guests are invited to participate in the sacrament.

If you would like to be anointed, simply fill out a form (available at the entrance) and bring it to the sacristy before Mass. The form asks for your name and general reason you are requesting the sacrament. This will allow us to properly record your anointment for archdiocesean records.

Recent History of the Sacrament

Although the sacrament began as a ritual of healing, over time the emphasis shifted to forgiveness of sins on the deathbed—when such forgiveness would be the final preparation for heaven.

The Second Vatican Council returned the original meaning to the sacrament by emphasizing that Anointing is not only for those who are at the point of death, but for anyone who is seriously ill, including mental or spiritual illness. The sacrament has evolved over the years from one received as extreme unction only at the very end of life to one that is now administered and received much more often. The rite itself instructs us that this sacrament is for those who are seriously ill. Any Catholics preparing for, or recovering from major surgery, those with chronic illness, those with mental illness, those recovering from addictions, and those over age 65 who would like to be anointed because of their advancing years may receive the sacrament. Individuals must be seven years of age or older (“the age of reason”) to receive this sacrament as it includes the notion of forgiveness of sin.

This change in meaning and practice moved the Rite away from private services and back to community-based support and spiritual healing opportunities.