Anointing of the Sick

This sacrament, called the Anointing of the Sick, is administered to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with oil blessed by the Bishop specifically for this sacrament.

It used to be called “Extreme Unction” before the Second Vatican Council (1964) as recourse to this sacrament had become increasingly confined to people on the point of death. The full status and application of this sacrament was recovered by the Second Vatican Council (Sacrosanctum Concilium 73) and its name revised to Anointing of the Sick to indicate this full status. It is in fact a sacrament of healing, not to be confused with the “anointing for burial” of the Old Testament.

Recourse to this sacrament is “as soon as any one of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age” (SC 73).

“If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his/her health, they can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1515).

The minister for this sacrament is a priest of the church. Please contact your parish priest if you or somebody you know is in need of this sacrament. If you live in the parish of St Mary’s Knaresborough it’s Father William. Daytime 01423 862388. Nighttime 07833 502018.