The sacrament is for anyone with a serious illness. For some, it is an ongoing struggle in need of God’s healing strength. For others, it is a new and perhaps soon-to-be cured condition, as with surgery or other treatment.
Some reasons for choosing to receive the sacrament might be: facing surgery; chronic disease; wrestling with depression, anxiety or addictions; growing weakness; seeking healing because of loss or grief.
Children as well as adults of all ages can be anointed. All illness brings anxiety, and often, serious worry, therefore caregivers who are seriously affected by the illness of a spouse, parent or child can also be anointed.
In the Anointing of the Sick, not only are the sick ministered to, but they minister to us by witnessing their faithfulness to Christ and their move to him in hope, even in the midst of their suffering.
The Apostolic Constitution Sacram Unctionem Infirmorum, following upon the Second Vatican Council, established that henceforth, in the Roman Rite, the following be observed:
- “The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with duly blessed oil—pressed from olives or from other plants—saying, only once:
- 'Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.’”~ from Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1513.