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The sacrament is no longer known as Extreme Unction or Last Rites nor administered only to the dying, but is now administered to those who are gravely ill or about to undergo a serious operation or are in danger of death due to sickness or old age. It says in James 5:14-15, "Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the 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 shall save the sick man." It is now called the Anointing of the Sick and is administered only by a priest, who blesses or anoints the sick person with holy oil blessed only by the Bishop at a special mass. This sacrament should, as far as possible be given, as soon as a seriously ill patient is hospitalized and while the person is conscious and able to speak. One should not wait till just before an operation or grave illness or serious accidents. Those caring for the sick viz. family, friends, or health care persons have a responsibility to inform the priest. When in doubt, priests should err on the side of caution and provide the sacrament to the faithful who request it.

The Sacrament is not one of fear, but of HOPE that God is the healer and one asks for His healing graces and strength that one's illness and suffering may be healed. Family participation is also encouraged whilst this sacrament is being given. The Sacrament, like the others, is a liturgical and community celebration, and takes place in the family home, hospital, church for a single person or a whole group of sick persons. It gives the suffering a sense of hope that in their time of need support and hope is always there.


  • A person should be sent to call the priest or inform by phone

  • Inform the priest whether the sick person is able to receive communion

  • If the sick person is in hospital call the priest from the church closest to the hospital or nursing home.

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