The Church teaches that the Anointing of the Sick is one of the Seven Sacraments of the Church. In the Christian Testament, the Letter of James states that “The sick are to be anointed in order to raise them up and save them.”
Anyone who is seriously ill, facing surgery, near death, or even advanced in age, can receive the sacrament. As part of the ritual, reconciliation and Eucharist are also possible, and in fact preferred, when possible.
To arrange for the anointing, one should call the parish office and speak with one of the priests to make an appointment to be anointed. Know that once/twice a year anointing of the sick is also done in a communal setting at the church. Check the bulletin for dates and times, usually in the spring and in the fall.
Always, when someone is near death and they wish to be anointed, you may call the parish and a priest will try to assist as soon as possible. In the past the sacrament was call “Extreme Unction.” People tried to wait until the “last” moments before death to be anointed. The Church teaches today that the sacrament can be administered at any time. If the person is in the hospital, you can ask for the Catholic Chaplin, if one is assigned to that hospital, or you may call the parish.
Anointing of the Sick is, whenever possible, a communal celebration. When the priest is summoned to anoint, it would be helpful if members of the family were present to pray, together with the priest, for the one being anointed.