Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick
If you know you will be going to the hospital for surgery or for some serious illness, we urge you to ask a priest to administer the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick before or after any Mass rather than wait until the last moment when no priest may be immediately available. This is something every priest is happy to do; your family and friends are welcome to join you so they can pray for you too. It only takes a few minutes; just ask!
For serious, unexpected illness, a Good Shepherd Parish priest is on call at all times (unless impeded by the administation of other sacraments). At Southern Maine Medical Center (SMMC) in Biddeford and at other area institutions, ask any nurse to contact the Catholic priest on call. You may also call the Good Shepherd Parish Office at 282-3321.
“The role of the sick in the Church is to be a reminder to others of the essential or higher things. By their witness, the sick show that our mortal life must be redeemed through the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. The faithful whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age should receive this sacrament. A sick person may be anointed before surgery whenever a serious illness is the reason for the surgery. Elderly people may be anointed if they have become notably weakened even though no serious illness is present. Those who are judged to have serious mental illness and who could be strengthened by the sacrament may be anointed. Sick children are to be anointed if they have sufficient use of reason to be strengthened by this sacrament. The sacrament may be repeated if the sick person recovers after being anointed and then again falls ill or if during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious. Sick persons who regain their health after being anointed [are] encouraged to give thanks for the favor received by participating in a Mass of thanksgiving or by some other suitable means.”
From Pastoral Care of the Sick
The Anointing of the Sick offers prayers for possible recovery, but the more important intention is to give strength to the soul of the sick person. The Church believes that the sacrament offers a special grace to calm and strengthen the spirit. This can be of great comfort in time of illness. This sacrament has its origin based on St. James’ Epistle: “Are there any sick among you? Then let them send for the priests and let the priest pray over them, anointing them with oil.” (James 4:14)
See the sidebar for information about bringing the Eucharist to the sick and/or homebound.