The celebration of this sacrament is a continuation of Jesus' compassion for the sick, who himself so identified with the sufferings of the sick that he made their suffering his own. The sacrament of the anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ in the Gospel of Mark (6:13) when his disciples anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Catholics recognize the ritual of this sacrament in the Letter of James that reads, "Is there 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 person, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven" (James 5:14-15).
According to the Second Vatican Council, the sacrament of the anointing of the sick is not just for those who are at the point of death. However, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.
The effects of the anointing of the sick:
- Unities the suffering of the sick person to the sufferings of Christ.
- Strengthens the sick person with courage and peace to endure whatever sufferings are caused by disease or old age.
- Forgives all sins for which the sick person has true sorrow, but was unable to confess.
- Sometimes restores health, if it is appropriate, for the salvation of the sick person.
- Prepares the sick person for the transition to eternal life.
Persons who may benefit from this sacrament include:
Those whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or advanced age.
- Those who are about to undergo surgery because of a serious illness.
- Those who are elderly and weakened by age, even if there is no serious illness.
- Sick children who are mature enough to be comforted by this sacrament.
Requesting the sacrament
The sacrament of the anointing of the sick is available by appointment. If you have a family member in need of the sacrament of the sick at home or in a local personal or nursing care facility, please call the parish office to make arrangements.
Those admitted to Armstrong County Memorial Hospital should, upon admission, indicate that they are Catholic and belong to St. Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. Otherwise, because of privacy laws, the hospital cannot release information to our parish about the admission of patients.
The hospital chaplain administers the sacrament of the sick to Catholics who are admitted to the hospital.
Annual Anointing of the Sick Mass
Each year our parish offers the anointing of the sick within the context of the celebration of Mass, followed by a lunch at St. Mary Parish Hall prepared by the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Court Patricia #998 for those in attendance. Please check the parish bulletin or online calendar for more information regarding this special Mass.