We will be celebrating the Sacrament of the Sick at the 4:30 Mass next Saturday, October 13. Celebrating this sacrament at a parish weekend liturgy allows the parish community to come together to honor the sick of our parish, to surround them with our prayers, and support them with our love. One of the evils of sickness is that it can cut us off from the community. Celebrating the sacrament with the parish community reminds them that, when they are alone, they have the support of our parish family.
The Church no longer celebrates “Extreme Unction”, which was an anointing of the person at the point of death. The “Anointing of the Sick” is intended for those suffering from an illness of any sort, suffering the burden of old age, or preparing to undergo surgery. It should be celebrated at the very onset of the sickness. We pray for both physical and spiritual healing.
We priests are often called to anoint a loved one when that person is “actively dying”, or at the point of death. In other words, people wait until it is “too late” to celebrate the Sacrament of the Sick. (According to the rubrics, the sacrament can only be celebrated with someone who is lucid.) The Sacrament of the dying is actually called Viaticum, or the Eucharist. This is the sacrament for someone approaching death. The Church also has some beautiful “Prayers of Commendation” for someone near death, and special prayers for someone immediately following their death. Fr. Mark and I are always willing to come to celebrate Viaticum or pray these prayers with the family just before or just after the death of a loved one. Please do not hesitate to call us at these times. But please also notify us at the onset of the illness to celebrate the Sacrament of the Sick. We can celebrate the Sacrament here at church, in the patient’s home, at the hospital. or nursing home. It is always preferred that family and friends participate in the celebration of the sacrament.
We encourage you to make a special effort to join us for the 4:30 Mass next Saturday.