Early Christians regularly anointed the sick following the practice outlined in the Epistle of James “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven”. (James 5:14-15 ) . Although no specific prayers have been preserved, early anointing’s sought healing as well as forgiveness from God. During the Middle Ages, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was reserved just for those who were dying. Prayers for healing were replaced by prayers for forgiveness of sin and hope of salvation. The sacrament came to be called “Extreme Unction” because it was considered the last anointing one would receive before death. As modern research gave insight into early Christian practice, the 2nd Vatican Council, urged the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick be renewed to include prayer for healing as well as remission of sin. Today, anyone faced with a grave illness or the prospect of surgery may receive the anointing of the sick. The grace of the sacrament include the courage to face illness, overcome despair, to unite one’s suffering with that of Christ and to strengthen the church by the faith of the sick person, who in turn is supported by prayer of the faithful
If you or a loved one is suffering from a serious illness, in danger of death from sickness or about to have a serious procedure and wish to be anointed please call the parish office.
Biblical references: Mk 6:12-13; Jm 5:14