By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.
The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness, the Anointing of the Sick.
​CCC#1499, 1511

Who can receive this Sacrament?

Any person who is seriously ill, in danger of death, weakened by old age (even if no serious illness is present), or preparing for serious surgery due to illness may receive the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.
One should not necessarily wait until they are on their deathbed to receive this sacrament. In addition, those who have received the Anointing of the Sick and recovered, but fall ill again, or those whose condition becomes more serious during the same illness, may receive the sacrament again.


The Anointing is done with olive oil that has been specifically blessed for this purpose. It is one of the three "Holy Oils" blessed by the the Bishop at the 'Chrism Mass' on Holy Thursday along with two other Holy Oils used primarily in Baptism. The three Holy Oils are then taken to each parish and kept in the Aumbry. The Oil of the Sick is used throughout the year to anoint those who are unwell,

The words of blessing over the oil say it all. It is "oil intended to ease the sufferings of your people". Oil soothes and heals. Oil blessed for the sick is a sign of the Anointed One (Messiah) of God. The person so anointed receives the healing, saving power of the One who saves (Messiah).


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 special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church; the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of penance; the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul; the preparation for passing over to eternal life"                                                                          

(CCC 1532).

Photo source: Front cover of the Book The Sacraments of Healing by Paul Jerome Keller, OP

"Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders 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"             Jas. 5:14-15


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