Anointing of the Sick

Anointing the Sick

If you or anyone in your family is sick or in hospital, please, contact us and one of the clergy will be happy to come and offer prayers and the Sacrament of Anointing.

The anointing of the sick is administered to bring spiritual and even physical strength during an illness, especially near the time of death. A sacrament is an outward sign established by Jesus Christ to confer inward grace. In more basic terms, it is a rite that is performed to convey God’s grace to the recipient, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Please, do not leave it to the last minute, but call us when somebody gets sick or is recovering in the hospital so the prayers and sacraments of the Church can offer them strength and consolation.

A Sacrament instituted by Christ

Like all the sacraments, holy anointing was instituted by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry. It is alluded to by St. Mark (6,13), but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by St. James apostle (5,14-15).

The anointing of the sick conveys several graces and imparts gifts of strengthening in the Holy Spirit against anxiety, discouragement, and temptation, and conveys peace and fortitude. This rite takes its power from the death of Jesus about whom the Prophets and Apostles said: "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases" (Matthew 8,17).

A practice known by the early Church

From as early as in the 3rd century we have prayers where the Church blessed oil for use for the sick:

“We beseech you, Saviour of all men, you that have all virtue and power, Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and we pray that you send down from heaven the healing power of the only-begotten Son upon this oil, so that for those who are anointed it may be effected for the casting out of every disease and every bodily infirmity for good grace and remission of sins.”

The effects of this Sacrament

The Anointing of the Sick unites the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church; it gives strength, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; forgives sins; restores health, if it is God's will; and in case of a dying person, it prepares them for passing over to eternal life.

Does God always heal?

Today some Christians go to extremes in their expectation of divine healing. On one hand, some say that if a Christian is not healed of all his diseases, this reflects his lack of faith. Others claim that divine healings were only for the apostolic age, when all diseases were healed instantly and automatically. Both extremes are wrong.

God does not always heal the physical infirmities that afflict us.  In his first letter to St. Timothy, St. Paul urges his young protégé to “no longer drink only water, but to use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1Tim 5,23).

This passage is especially informative. Not only does it reveal that illnesses were not always healed in the apostolic age, but it also shows an apostle’s practical advice to a fellow Christian on how to deal with an illness. Notice that St. Paul does not tell Timothy to pray harder and have more faith that God will heal him from his stomach ailment. Rather, he tells him how to manage the illness through medicinal means.

Of course, our healing, like all things, is subject to God’s will. As James pointed out just a chapter earlier, “You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that’” (4,14–15). We have a promise of healing, but not an unqualified one. It is conditional on the will of God.

Why doesn't God always heal?

We don't know. Nobody does. It is one of the great mysteries we must accept with faith and hope in everlasting life. We live in a world wounded by sin, and we all experience the consequences of it: innocent people suffer, babies die, good people get sick. 

Death is a reality of our human life, and we need not try to deny that fact when it becomes obvious or inevitable. In such cases, the Sacrament of Anointing prepares a person for death, which includes spiritual healing and the forgiveness of sins. Even if it does not "save" a person from sickness or death, this Sacrament can eliminate anxiety, abolish fear, inspire confidence in God with resignation to his will.

Mass with anointing

This Sacrament is not only for those who are sick in body, but for all those who suffer in mind or spirit too. Every month (normally on the 2nd Tuesday - please, check Calendar) there is a Mass with Anointing. All those who wish will receive the laying of hands and will be anointed.