Anointing of the Sick  

Our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ is to do what Jesus did. In reading the Gospels, we learn about Jesus’ concern for the sick. Healing was essential to the mission of the disciples: “He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two . . . They anointed with oil the many who were sick and cured them” (Mark 6:7-13). The early Church continued to be a sacrament of healing: “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).

About the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick
If you close your eyes and picture the sacrament of anointing, what image would come to your mind? Many Catholics would picture a priest standing at a hospital bedside. For an increasing number of Catholics, however, the mental picture might be changing. They would picture a parish community gathered for Sunday Eucharist, with a number of people — some visibly ill, some apparently perfectly healthy — some older and some children, coming up the aisle to be anointed, some with their spouses, parents, or caregivers.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that when the sick are anointed, they should be “assisted by their pastor and the whole ecclesial, (church) community, which is invited to surround the sick in a special way through their prayers and fraternal attention” (#1516). “Like all the sacraments, the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration . . . It is very fitting to celebrate it within the Eucharist” (#1517).

When first learning about the sacrament of the sick, most think about one being “sick” exclusively in terms of bodily illness. Yet modern science has allowed us to expand our understanding and realize as the holistic unity of body, soul and spirit — does it work? Will everyone experience healing? These are the questions frequently asked regarding the sacrament of anointing. And the answer is “yes.” That healing, of course, is not restricted to only physical healing.

When our attention is directed toward physical illness, it is natural to think of the effects of the sacrament in terms of physical healing. Sacraments, however, are celebrations of faith, expressions of who we are before God. This understanding of sacrament, together with the realization that we are more than our physical body, has led us to look again at the effects of the sacrament of anointing.

Communal Celebrations
The Sacrament of the Sick is for Catholics who have reached the age of reason and whose health is seriously impaired by illness, accident, or old age, and for those facing surgery when serious illness is the reason.
Four times a year at Sunday Masses, we celebrate the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Please call the Pastoral Center for specific Sundays and Mass times.

Pastoral Care for the Holy Family Community
Holy Family’s ministry to the sick offers compassionate care and encourages a sense of belonging and connection to the Body of Christ through Eucharist and the people of God.
To notify us of someone in the parish who is sick, please follow these procedures:

  • Call the Pastoral Center Monday-Sunday if the sick person needs to be visited by a priest.
  • You will be asked a few important questions by the staff person who answers your   call, as a form must be filled out. Hospital? Home? Communion? Person’s home address and phone? Parishioner or not? Elderly? Name on intercessions?
  • Please ask the staff person to notify Mary Ternan, Director of Pastoral Care.

Mary Ternan
Director of Pastoral Care
(626) 403-6115
Pastoral Center
(626) 799-8908

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