Sacraments and Worship . . .

The Sacraments of Healing: Anointing of the Sick

In the process of healing the sick, Jesus made frequent use of signs: spittle, mud, the laying on of hands and ritual washing which the Jews would have been familiar with. When Jesus healed the man who had been blind from birth……..’He spat on the ground and made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man and said to him, ‘Go wash in the Pool of Siloam (a name that means ‘sent’). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored’. (John 9:1-3, 6-7)

The apostles, who were commissioned to exercise the same healing ministry, ‘anointed many sick people with oil and cured them’. (Mark 6:12-13) Once, when Peter and John were going up to the temple, they met a crippled man who begged from them. Peter said to him: ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ The man jumped up, stood, and began to walk’. (Acts of the Apostles 3:3-9) The sick were often laid out in the streets, hoping that Peter’s shadow might fall across them and heal them. (Acts 5:15)

‘If one of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins he will be forgiven. So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another and this will cure you’. (James 5:14-15)

Whenever a person is seriously ill he or she may receive the Anointing of the Sick; one does not need to be dying to be anointed. This sacrament has as its effects: the uniting of the sick person to the Passion of Christ; the strengthening, peace and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the Sacrament of Reconciliation; the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul. (CCC 1527, 1528, 1529, 1532) The Church offers to those who are about to leave this life the sacraments of healing in combination with the Eucharist as viaticum or ‘passing over’ to the Father. So, at the end of our life, we are ‘prepared for our heavenly homeland’. (CCC 1525) In the Anointing of the Sick and the Sacrament of Reconciliation Christ continues to touch us and make us whole.

Receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick:
The parish priest should be informed when any parishioner is very ill or is to undergo an operation or is likely to be detained in hospital, hospital staff do not automatically send such information to the local parish priest. Please note that anyone who is sick may receive this sacrament.

Further information about Anointing the Sick can be obtained from the Cathedral Office:
Tel: 0115 9539839 email:

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