‘When he (Jesus) went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick’ (Matthew 14:14). Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people” (Lk 7:16; Mt 4:24) and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins (Mk 2:5-12); he has come to heal the whole person, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of (Mk 2:17).
His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me” (Mt 25:36). His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 1503)
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is exactly what it says. It is a prayerful celebration for someone or for a group of people who are ill and are blessed by the priest with Holy Oil. It is not a sign that someone is dying as it was perceived in olden times. It is not a magical ritual; the person doesn’t automatically get better immediately after an anointing. God’s healing and loving presence are called upon that the sick person might be raised up and restored to health.
The oil that is used is Olive Oil. The Bishop and priests bless it at the ‘Chrism Mass’ on Holy Thursday in the Cathedral.The holy oils are then taken each year to each parish and hospital for use throughoout the year in the Sacrament of the Sick.
A person is anointed on the forehead while the priest says: ‘Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit’, and on the palms of the hands as he says, ‘May the Lord who frees you from sin, save you and raise you up.”
The Sacrament is given to anyone in ‘serious illness’, those who are infirm, in advanced years, or anyone prior to surgery. (It is not only for when a person is in ‘danger of death’.)
Parish Arrangements for the Anointing of the Sick
This Sacrament is celebrated three times during the year, during one of the Sunday Masses in St John the Baptist’s Parish. It is available to those who are sick, or infirm from old age, at any time.
The dates of these celebrations will be announced in the parish newsletter and parish notices.
The priests of the parish are available to give the Sacrament of the Sick at any time.
For more information, please contact the Parish Office.