The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a wonderful celebration of prayer for health and recovery from sickness, surgery and other maladies afflicting the human condition. With Vatican II the Church wisely expanded this Sacrament from the more narrow “Last Rites”, where one would only be anointed when dying or at the hour of death. Some of you older parishioners still think of it this way. However, the Sacrament is offered for those about to undergo surgery, when at the hospital, in old age or to assist in physical or mental sickness. It is no longer thought of simply as “The Last Rites”.
That being said, the Last Rites at the moment of death, or in the process of dying, can be a spiritual help and blessing. The Last Rites consists of three Sacraments: Anointing of the Sick, Holy Confession and Holy Eucharist. This Sacrament is no longer reserved for the dying, but more generously for all who are in need of God’s tender and healing touch.
So, I ask those who are going into surgery for any reason, will be in the hospital, or even in hospice and beginning the dying process, as well as those who are near death, to seek the comfort of this great Sacrament. If you are going into surgery or the hospital, I am more than happy to anoint you at Mass before you go in. Just let me know and I’ll anoint you and lift up your needs to God.
This is a great Sacrament! Don’t miss this wonderful gift of God’s loving touch and His abiding care for you. As your pastor, it is my duty and privilege to serve you and offer the Sacrament to you!