“Is there anyone sick among you? You should ask the presbyters of the church. They in turn are to pray over you, anointing you with oil in the Name of the Lord... This prayer uttered in faith will reclaim the one who is ill and the Lord will restore you to health. If you have committed any sins, forgiveness will be yours. Hence, declare your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may find healing.” James 5:14-16
During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the doctrine of the seven sacraments was formulated. Listed among these was the Anointing of the Sick which was understood to be a sacrament of spiritual help during the time of grave illness to the point of death. During the early understanding of the sacrament, “Anointing” was understood to be restricted to those “whose life is feared for”. (Doctrine on the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, Council of Trent)
Second Vatican Council developed the doctrine to the fuller understanding that “anointing is not a sacrament reserved (only) for those who are at the point of death.”
The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church places the sacrament in a larger context as it recommends the sick of the community to the healing prayers of the entire Church and recommends the sick to the Lord asking for relief and salvation. In this larger context, the sacrament unites the sick with the passion and death of Christ for the good of the people of God. (n.11)
Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament of faith: the faith of the Church which looks back to the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus and forward to the future reign of God which is promised through all of the sacraments. (Catholicism, Richard P. McBrien)
Anointing offers a renewed trust in the Holy Spirit and strength against anxiety and fear. At times, even physical health is restored. Through this sacrament, the Church recognizes her journey toward the reign of God in fostering the eschatological virtues of faith and hope. It is the journeying community who is saved in our “human wholeness, body as well as soul by our Lord Jesus Christ, (who) shared in our human nature to heal the sick and save all humankind.” (Prayer After Anointing)
Anointing of the sick occurs the first Saturday of the month after the 8:15 a.m. mass.