Anointing of the Sick

Healing Sacraments:

The Roman Catholic Church identifies three sacraments instituted by Jesus as sacraments which promote the healing of mind, body, and souls of the faithful.  These are the sacraments of Penance or Reconciliation, Eucharist, and  the Anointing of the Sick.

“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 Apostolic Constitution Sacram unctionem infirmorum,following upon the   Second Vatican Council,established that henceforth, in the Roman Rite, the following be observed:  The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with duly blessed oil – pressed from olives or from other plants – saying, only once: “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.”  Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

Who should receive this sacrament?

The Anointing of the Sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived…  CCC   Here it is good to note that this sacrament should be used for anyone facing serious illness:  not just those in danger of imminent death.


If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. CCC   The Anointing of the Sick may be received multiple times during the course of one’s life; not   just at the time of imminent death.


If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. CCC   An example of this might be if a person were to receive the sacrament prior to a serious    operation and then take a sudden turn for the worse after the operation.  In this case, the  sacrament could again be received.

The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced.  Here again the sacrament is offered to those who have received it before, but who stand in need of the healing of Christ.


Why should I ask for this sacrament?

Often fear or pride may stand in the way of requesting this sacrament.  As Catholic Christians it is sometimes helpful for us to reflect upon the image of Jesus on the Holy Cross.  It was here in weakness and need that our Lord did His best work:  the salvation of the world.  The image of a meek and dying Christ can help us to reach across to our Church for the healing and consolation we need.

Another sacrament of Healing assists us in reaching this point of openness to God’s grace.  The Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation washes us clean of our sin, preparing our whole selves for the grace to be bestowed upon us through the anointing.  The faithful infirm are encouraged to receive reconciliation as another fount of God’s grace.  Sometimes it takes the gentle intervention and encouragement of a family member to suggest the reception of the sacraments.

The faithful should encourage the sick to call for a priest to receive this sacrament. The sick should prepare themselves to receive it with good dispositions… CCC


How do I request this sacrament for myself or for another person?

Parishioners of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary or St. Leo Parishes should either call the office at 603-332-1863 or come in to 189 N. Main St., Rochester, NH to inquire.

Parishioners of another parish: should call your parish or call us to request the number unless the sick person is in a medical facility nearby and away from his or her home parish.

Parishioners who have a  Mother Angeline Minister of Care can also ask their minister to contact the office.




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