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Anointing Of The Sick
Anointing of the Sick
Whenever a family member or friend is in danger of death because of sickness or old age, please call the Rectory in order to let the priests know. When a parishioner is admitted through the Emergency Department of the area hospitals, their names are not usually added to our parish hospital list. If you would like a visit from our priests while you are in the hospital, we recommend you or a family member contact the Rectory at 330-492-3119.
St. Michael Parish periodically throughout the year has anointing of the sick Masses at which this sacrament is made available to those who need it.
Who can receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?
Any member of the faithful can receive this sacrament when he or she begins to be in danger of death because of sickness or old age. The faithful who receive this sacrament can receive it several times if their illness becomes worse or another serious sickness afflicts them. It is also fitting to receive the Sacrament of Anointing before serious surgery. The celebration of this sacrament may be preceded by individual confession on the part of the sick person.
Who administers this sacrament?
Only priests and bishops can administer this sacrament.
How is this sacrament celebrated?
The celebration of this sacrament consists essentially in the laying on of hands and an anointing with oil, which is blessed by the bishop at the "Chrism Mass" on Holy Thursday. The anointing is administered on the forehead and on the hands of the sick person, and perhaps also on other parts of the body. The priest says an accompanying prayer, asking for the unique grace of this sacrament: the forgiveness of sins and the healing grace of Christ.
What are the effects of this sacrament?
The effects of the Sacrament of Anointing are described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1520-1523:
A particular gift of the Holy Spirit. The first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. This grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of the evil one, the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the face of death. (http://old.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt2art5.shtml#135) This assistance from the Lord by the power of his Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but also of the body if such is God's will. Furthermore, "if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."
Union with the passion of Christ. By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ's Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior's redemptive Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.
An ecclesial grace. The sick who receive this sacrament, "by freely uniting themselves to the passion and death of Christ," "contribute to the good of the People of God." By celebrating this sacrament the Church, in the communion of saints, intercedes for the benefit of the sick person, and he, for his part, though the grace of this sacrament, contributes to the sanctification of the Church and to the good of all men for whom the Church suffers and offers herself through Christ to God the Father.
A preparation for the final journey. If the sacrament of anointing of the sick is given to all who suffer from serious illness and infirmity, even more rightly is it given to those at the point of departing this life; so it is also called sacramentum exeuntium (the sacrament of those departing). The Anointing of the Sick completes our conformity to the death and Resurrection of Christ, just as Baptism began it. It completes the holy anointings that mark the whole Christian life: that of Baptism, which sealed the new life in us, and that of Confirmation, which strengthened us for the combat of this life. This last anointing fortifies the end of our earthly life like a solid rampart for the final struggles before entering the Father's house.
What is the significance of Jesus’ compassion for the sick?
The compassion of Jesus toward the sick and his many healings of the infirm were a clear sign that with him had come the Kingdom of God and therefore victory over sin, over suffering, and over death. Jesus performed miracles of healing in his own ministry. By his own passion and death, he gave new meaning to our suffering which, when united with his own, can become a means of purification and of salvation for us and for others. The Church has received from the Lord Jesus the command to "heal the sick," and has continued Christ’s healing ministry even to our own day.
What is the attitude of the Church toward the sick?
Having received from the Lord the charge to heal the sick, the Church strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick and accompanying them with her prayer of intercession. Above all, the Church possesses a sacrament specifically intended for the benefit of the sick. This sacrament was instituted by Christ and is attested to by Saint James: "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." (The Letter of James, Chapter 5: 14ff)
What is Viaticum?
Viaticum is the Holy Eucharist received by those who are about to leave this earthly life and are preparing for the journey to eternal life. Communion in the Body and Blood of Christ who died and rose from the dead, received at the moment of passing from this world to the Father, is the seed of eternal life and the power of the resurrection. The word viaticum comes from two Latin words via ("way") and cibus ("food"). It is the food on the way, the food for the journey.