Following the example of, and by Divine mandate from Her Founder, Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church lovingly accompanies humanity at all stages of life, from the moment of conception until natural death, “going about, doing good and healing all.” (Acts of the Apostles, 10:38).
“The Church shows this solicitude not only by visiting those who are in poor health but also by raising them up through the Sacrament of Anointing and by nourishing them with the Eucharist during their illness when they are in danger of death.” (Decree from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, 1072).
“Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude.” (CCC, no. 1500). “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, no. 1511).
Who can receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?
– The Anointing of the Sick is the special Sacrament for baptized persons who have reached the age of reason and are dangerously ill as a result of sickness, accident or old age. (Cf. CIC, c. 1004).
– “‘Extreme Unction,’ which may also and more properly be called ‘Anointing of the Sick,’ is not a Sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as any one of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for that person to receive this Sacrament has certainly already arrived.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 73).
– The faithful (particularly family members and friends, also parish visitation team members) should encourage those who are ill and homebound or in healthcare facilities to call for the priest so that they can receive the Anointing of the Sick. (Cf. CCC, no. 1516).
What is the viaticum?
– “In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as Viaticum. Communion in the body and blood of Christ, received at this moment of ‘passing over’ to the Father, has a particular significance and importance. It is the seed of eternal life and the power of resurrection, according to the words of the Lord: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’ The Sacrament of Christ once dead and now risen, the Eucharist is here the Sacrament of passing over from death to life, from this world to the Father.” (CCC, no. 1524).
– “Thus, just as the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist form a unity called ‘the Sacraments of Christian Initiation,’ so too it can be said that Penance, the Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist as viaticum constitute at the end of Christian life ‘the Sacraments that prepare for our heavenly homeland’ or the Sacraments that complete the earthly pilgrimage.” (CCC, no. 1525).
If you have any questions or you may want to receive anointing, please call Father Edison at (585) 924-7111.