This Sacrament has been described by different names historically and in our memory. Prior to the Second Vatican Council before the 1960s it was called ‘Extreme Unction’ or ‘The Last Anointing’. This latter name led many people to describe it as ‘the Last Rites’ and to perceive it as the Sacrament that was only given to the dying. It is more correctly and fruitfully called the Anointing of the Sick and it is for those who are in danger of death from sickness or old age. When received then, it can help people to recover and can be repeated every time there is danger of death from sickness or old age.
The ‘Last Rites’ or the Sacrament of the dying is more fittingly the Eucharist given as ‘Viaticum’ which is Latin for ‘Food for the journey’ and given, if possible, in a continuous Rite with Confession and Anointing.
There is no set time for celebrating this Sacrament in the parish, but people are encouraged to request it in the event sickness or old age is becoming burdensome to them. The priests may offer this Sacrament to those whose sickness is deemed to be serious enough to be a danger to their lives even if the danger is not immediate.
On every first Friday of the month, the priest visits the housebound with Holy Communion. Lay ministers of the Eucharist may also be available to distribute Holy Communion to the sick on Sundays or in time of need. Many sick people also like to receive the Sacrament of the Sick and are strengthened and affirmed by its reception. If you are unable to attend Mass due to illness or frailty and would like to receive the Sacraments in your home, please contact Fr. Mike or Pauline in the Parish Office.