The church will once again celebrate the World Day of the Sick on February 11th, 2009. Download resources about the Sacrament of the Anointing.

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To assist parishes in marking this day the diocese has put together a resource for presiders and liturgy groups.

Resources

World Day of the Sick – Prayers of the faithful

Communal celebration of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

This resource is intended to be used in the preparation for the celebration of a Communal Rite of the Anointing of the Sick within Mass.

The resource contains the following:

  • Some practical considerations for the parish ahead of the celebration
  • A walk through the celebration itself
  • Music Suggestions for the celebration.

This celebration might take place on the day itself or on a Sunday close to the day.

Reflections on the Sacrament

A fundamental question to be asked and explored with parishioners is: Who are the appropriate recipients of the sacrament of anointing?

This question can be explored during a Mass previous to the celebration, through the Sunday Bulletin or both. Some of the following might also be drawn upon for the homily of the day.

We are told in the Introduction to the Rite of Anointing of the Sick that the sacrament of anointing is the proper sacrament for those Christians whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age. (par 97)

In practice, this instruction should encourage us to avoid two misinterpretations of the sacrament.

The first is the misinterpretation that this sacrament is a sacrament for the dying and that it should be delayed to as close to death as possible.

The second is the misinterpretation that this sacrament is appropriate once I have reached old age or if I have a permanent physical, emotional or mental disability.

In instructing about the appropriate use of this sacrament we need to focus on the phrase “whose health is seriously impaired” – old age or disability do not, on their own, necessarily equate with serious impairment of health.

It is also helpful to remind people that this is a repeatable sacrament, even within the experience of one illness, when a person’s condition may deteriorate. Also, within some long term medical conditions (for example, alcoholism, mental illness) there can be acute phases when an anointing can be beneficial to the individual.

The appropriateness of celebrating this sacrament in the context of the community might also be shared. Again in the Introduction to the Rite we are told:

“Through the sacrament of anointing, the Church 1) supports the sick in their struggle against illness and 2) continues Christ’s messianic work of healing….The sacrament of anointing effectively expresses the share that each one has in the suffering of others.”(Par 98)

Again this reminds us that as Church, as members of the Body of Christ, each of us is called to share in the healing work of Christ.