The Anointing of the Sick
The Anointing of the Sick is one of the seven Catholic sacraments. According to Catholic doctrine, this sacrament serves as a channel for special graces from God that comfort and heal, physically and/or spiritually, people who are seriously ill and in danger of death.
In the essential rite of the sacrament, a priest or bishop lays his hands on the sick person’s head. Then he anoints the sick person on the forehead and palms of the hands with the oil of the sick, a holy oil that has been blessed by a bishop. During the anointing, the priest or bishop says the following words: ‘Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in His love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord Who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.
Who Can Receive This Sacrament?
Any baptized Catholic who has reached the age of reason (usually around seven years old) can receive this sacrament if he or she is gravely ill and in danger of death. Many Catholics also request the Anointing of the Sick before major surgery. Elderly Catholics who are experiencing the frailty and health challenges of old age are also welcome to receive the Anointing. The sacrament may be received more than once, even during the same illness if it progresses in seriousness.
Effects of the Sacrament
According to Catholic doctrine, the Anointing of the Sick affects the sick person in the following ways: