Anointing of the Sick
“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” – James 5:14-15
The Sacrament of Anointing of the sick is not only for the dying but also for those suffering from serious illness, for the elderly and for those facing major surgery. Two important actions of this Sacrament by the priest are the laying on of hands and anointing with blessed oil. (CCC 1531)
What to do when a Roman Catholic requests “Last Rites”?
In the moments of a health crisis, families frequently desire to have a priest visit their loved one. Due to the realities of a priest shortage and parish workloads, it may be difficult or impossible for a parish priest to answer a call on short notice. While a hospital may fall within the territorial responsibilities of a parish, patients are advised to have reasonable expectations if they are not in a hospital with an assigned priest or chaplain. A priest will make every effort to respond if a Catholic patient has not been anointed.
What can be done for a dying patient who has already received the sacrament of the anointing?
Usually the sacrament of anointing is given only once per hospital stay. The proper sacrament is called Viaticum (which is Holy Communion). This is, in fact, considered the last sacrament of our Christian life.
What if the patient has already died?
Since it is the Catholic belief that sacraments are only celebrated for the living, the dead cannot receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. The Church has a number of prayers for the deceased and the grieving that can be lead by a deacon or layperson. Please contact the church office for further information.
The Anointing of the Sick is offered for those in need by contacting the parish office at 570-421-9097. The Sacrament is also offered communally in October in honor of the Feast of Saint Luke.
PLEASE NOTE: There is a priest on duty each day. By calling Saint Matthew’s at 570-421-2342 the priest on duty will get the call. Our Lady of Victory covers Saint Luke’s Hospital and can be reached at 570-629-4572.