Anointing of the Sick

Occasionally during the year, there is a special liturgy that all who wish to be anointed are invited to attend. The actual anointing happens after a weekend Mass.

Additionally, the sick person or a caregiver can request anointing at home or in the hospital. There is also an opportunity to be anointed at the daily mass, held in the St. John Neumann chapel. Please contact the staff associate for Pastoral Care or one of the priests to make arrangements.


From ancient times in the liturgical traditions of both East and West, we have testimonies to the practice of anointing of the sick with blessed oil. Over the centuries the Anointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death. Because of this it received the name "Extreme Unction." The sacrament also became known as "the Last Rites". However, the Anointing of the Sick is not only for people who are near death.

Who should receive the Anointing of the Sick?

The Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament not only for those who are at the point of death. As soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age , the fitting time for them to receive this sacrament has arrived.

Those of the faithful whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age are invited to receive this sacrament. A prudent or reasonably sure judgement, without scruple, is sufficient for deciding on the seriousness of an illness.

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.

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.

Sick children may be anointed if they have sufficient use of reason to be strengthened by this sacrament.

The sacrament of anointing may be conferred on sick people who, although they have lost consciousness or the use of reason, have as Christian believers at least implicitly asked for it when they were in control of their faculties.

When a priest has been called to attend those who are already dead, he should not administer the sacrament of anointing. Instead, he should pray for them, asking that God forgive their sins and graciously receive them into the kingdom of Heaven.

How is the sacrament celebrated?

A priest is the only proper minister of the Anointing of the Sick. Within the rite of anointing, there are readings from Scripture, prayers for the sick person, a laying on of hands, and anointing of the sick person's forehead and hands with a blessed oil called "the Oil of the Sick". The Oil of the Sick is ordinarily blessed by our archbishop at the Chrism Mass in the Spring.

Like all the sacraments the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration, whether it takes place in the family home, a hospital or church, for a single sick person or a whole group of sick persons. It is very fitting to celebrate it within Mass.

If circumstances suggest it, the celebration of the sacrament can be preceded by the sacrament of Penance and followed by the sacrament of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the sacrament of Christ's Passover and should be the last sacrament of the earthly journey, the "viaticum" for "passing over" to eternal life.

How do we celebrate this sacrament at St. John Neumann?

Here at SJN, we usually have two liturgies per year with communal anointing of the sick within a Mass. We usually celebrate a Mass with Anointing once in the Fall and Spring on a weeknight. You can also be anointed in your home, in the hospital, or you can be anointed at a daily Mass, Monday - Friday.

If you have questions about being anointed, about the best time to be anointed, or other concerns about care for those who are sick or dying, please call one of the following people at the Parish Office (651-454-2079):

Fr. Tony O'Neill, Pastor

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

(reference: Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1511-1532, and the Rite of Anointing and Viaticum)

Among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness. This sacrament is called the Anointing of the Sick.

Those who are seriously ill need the special help of God's grace in this time of anxiety, lest they be broken in sprit and, under the pressure of temptation, perhaps weakened in their faith.

This is why, through the sacrament of anointing, Christ strengthens the faithful who are afflicted by illness, providing them with the strongest means of support.

This sacrament gives the grace of the Holy Spirit to those who are sick. By this grace the whole person is helped and saved, sustained by trust in God, and strengthened against the temptations of the Evil One and against anxiety over death. Thus the sick person is able to bear suffering bravely.

A return to physical health may follow the reception of this sacrament if it will be beneficial to the sick person's salvation.