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Anointing of the Sick

Theology of the Anointing of the Sick

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is not a sacrament for only those who are at the point of death. The church teaches that as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to know they are ill and in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time to receive this sacrament has already arrived. A careful judgment about the seriousness of the illness should be sufficient to call for the priest. Christ’s compassion for the sick and his healings of almost every kind of infirmity indicate to us that God is ever present to us especially as we near the end of life or are seriously ill.

Anointing of the Sick and Sacred Scripture

Mark’s gospel (Mark 2:1-12) recounts the type of healing Christ offered to his disciples.  The paralytic, lowered to Jesus through a hole in the ceiling created by friends of the man, was both a spiritual and physical healing.  Jesus said to the man “Your sins are forgiven” .  Some in the crowd did not understand this comment so Jesus went on to add “I say to you rise, pick up your mat, and go home”.  Here the man is healed not only of his sinfulness but also his paralysis.  Jesus touched the sick, reached his hands over them to cast out demons and to heal every ailment.  If we ask, Jesus can enter our lives too and heal what can be healed or escort us to the heavenly kingdom, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

The Essential Rite of the Anointing of the Sick

Only bishops and priests may be ministers of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.  A penitential rite begins the sacrament following by a reading from the Word of God.  This reading is meant to awaken the faith of the one who is sick and to invite family members to pray together to ask Christ to heal what needs to be healed, body and soul.  The priest lays hands on the head of the sick person.  He follows this with an anointing with the 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”.   For those who are requesting the sacrament because they are in danger of death the church offers the person the sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist (Viaticum)along with the Anointing of the Sick.  These rites are important to Catholics as highly valued steps to first unite one’s suffering to those of Christ and then to prepare oneself for a good death.

Anointing of the Sick at Saint Jerome

To arrange for someone to receive the Anointing of the Sick, please call the parish office at 781.335.2038

Saint Jerome to Pope Damascus

"The fruitful soil of Rome, when it receives pure seed of the Lord, it bears fruit one hundredfold."

Saint Jerome

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