Anointing of the Sick
Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters (priests) of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (James 5:14-15)
Rogier Van der Weyden, Unction
Detail from the Seven Sacraments Altarpiece (1445-1450)
Royal Museum of Fine Arts
The outward and visible sign of the Sacrament of Unction or the Anointing of the Sick is an anointing with oil (specially blessed for this purpose by the Bishop), accompanied by the words, "I anoint you with oil in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The inward and spiritual grace is healing of body, soul, and spirit for eternal life.
Whenever this Sacrament is administered, Christ the Great Physician bestows the healing that he knows we need. This healing need not always entail a physical cure. Our deepest need is for healing in our relationships with God, others, and ourselves - which this Sacrament unfailingly conveys.
Any baptized Christian may request the Anointing of the Sick at any time. This Sacrament is not only for those who are near death. It is encouraged for all who suffer from any form of physical, emotional, or spiritual illness.
At St. Uriel's, you may request an Anointing by the priest following any of the regularly-scheduled Masses. If you are about to undergo surgery or begin an extended course of medical treatment, then by all means request an Anointing beforehand. The clergy regularly offer Anointing of the Sick in their pastoral ministrations to those who are homebound or in hospital, nursing homes, and rehab centers. If in doubt, ask!
Intercessory prayer for the sick (sometimes accompanied by laying-on-of-hands) is not the Sacrament of Anointing but a complement to it. While the minister of the Anointing of the Sick is normally a Bishop or Priest, all Christians, lay and ordained, are encouraged to pray for healing for themselves and for others. Some lay people have a unique gift (or charism) for healing prayer.
Prior to the Pandemic, prayer teams of the Order of St. Luke were available for the laying-on-of-hands and intercessory prayer in the Lady Chapel. We hope to be able to resume this ministry soon.