Anointing of the Sick

Anointing of the Sick

Jesus came to heal the whole person, body and soul.

Anointing of the Sick at St. Brendan

Anointing of the Sick may be received by Catholics who have attained the use of reason (even if later they suffer from dementia or are unconscious) and who begin to suffer from a dangerous illness, injury, or the infirmity of old age. It may be repeated when a person recovers and falls ill again or when the same illness or injury takes a serious turn for the worse.

Only a bishop or priest may administer Anointing of the Sick. If you or someone you know is in need of this sacrament, please contact the pastor at the parish office as soon as possible.

If someone is taken to a hospital out of town (e.g., in Columbia or Jefferson City), it is often faster to request that the hospital contact the Catholic priest who is on call.

Please note that hospitals and nursing homes will not notify the parish unless explicitly requested by a patient or family member.

Last Rites

"Last Rites" is an umbrella term used to refer to the final sacraments and sacramentals that a Catholic receives before death.

The Last Rites include:

  • Confession
  • The Apostolic Blessing (with plenary indulgence)
  • Anointing of the Sick (also called Extreme Unction)
  • Holy Communion as Viaticum
  • The Commendation of the Dying

There is no need to put these important rituals off till the last moment before death. As soon as someone begins to be in danger of death, please contact the pastor at the parish office.

Grace for Spiritual and Physical Healing

The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:

  • the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church;
  • the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age;
  • the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance;
  • the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
  • the preparation for passing over to eternal life.

The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults expands on the purpose and effects of The Rite of Anointing, often referred to as “Anointing of the Sick” or in some cases, “Viaticum” (food for the journey.)

In the Church's Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.

The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient.

When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God's will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit's gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.