How Do I?

Anointing of the Sick

“Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven” (James 5: 14-15).

Are you suffering from an illness or do you know someone else who suffers from a painful ailment?  Asking for the healing touch of Christ through this sacrament is not only for those who are at the point of death, but is intended for all those who are seriously ill, regardless of age.  Sickness involves more than bodily illness, it may also be of a mental and spiritual nature.

What is the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick?

(From the Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph, 1520):• 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.

How may I receive this Sacrament?
To receive this sacrament at St. Joseph Parish, prior to a hospitalization or at the time of a serious illness:

1. Call St. Joseph Parish at 410-683-0600, option #1 to speak to the priest on duty or request a visit while in the hospital.

2. You may also request this sacrament after any weekend Mass.

3. Masses for the Anointing of the Sick are scheduled at various times during the year at 3:00 p.m. on selected Sundays.  These are announced in the Parish Bulletin.

Can this sacrament be received more than once?
Anyone, regardless of age, can receive this sacrament if his or her health is seriously impaired or prior to surgery.  It can be received more than once if the original illness gets worse or if another serious sickness is diagnosed.

How is the Sacrament received?
There are two ways that this Sacrament may be received, in the home, or in Church during Mass :

Anointing in a Home

1. The rite begins with the Sign of the Cross with blessed water which reminds us of our baptismal promise to die with Christ so that we might rise to new life with him.

2. The readings from Scripture are adapted to the condition of the sick person. The priest prays and assures the sick person of the prayers of the parish and invites the sick person to pray for the needs of his or her fellow parishioners.

3. The priest imposes hands on the head of the one to be anointed, prays over the oil and anoints the forehead and hands of the sick person. “God our healer, in this time of sickness you have come to bless N. with your grace. Restore him/her to health and strength; make him/her joyful in spirit, and ready to embrace your will. Grant this through Christ our Lord.”

4. The priest prays for the sick person and invites all present to pray The Lord’s Prayer.

5. The priest then blesses the sick person and all present.


Celebrating Anointing of the Sick at a Mass

1. The Mass begins as usual. There is a welcome and then special prayers for those to be anointed.

2. After the homily, there is a litany of prayers for those who will be anointed and for those who care for them.

3. The priest lays his hands on the head of the person(s) to be anointed.

4. Oil is brought to the altar. A prayer is said over the oil.

5. The priest makes the Sign of the Cross with the blessed oil on the sick person’s forehead, saying: “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.” All respond: “Amen.” Then the priest anoints the palms of the sick one’s hands with the Sign of the Cross: “May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” All respond: “Amen.”

6. Bread and wine are brought to the Eucharistic table, and Mass continues as usual.