“Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the Church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And if they have committed sins, these will be forgiven."
The Anointing of the Sick is one of the sacraments of healing in the Catholic Church (the other being Reconciliation). It may be administered to any Catholic who comes into danger because of sickness or old age. Anointing is not the “Last Rites,” although that is the popular opinion of this Sacrament. While it may be received prior to death, often in conjunction with Reconciliation and the giving of Holy Communion, it can be received multiple times during a person's life. While you should be gravely ill to ask for the sacrament, or about to have an operation (always a grave medical issue from a religious viewpoint), you do not have to be in danger of death.
Addiction is considered a grave medical issue worthy of receiving the Anointing. During the parish' annual Smoking Cessation program during Lent, those who are quitting smoking are offered anointing at each of the Ash Wednesday masses.
To request Anointing of the Sick, speak with a priest after Mass or call the Church office. See the contact form for instructions on what to do if this is an emergency. Each hospital also has a Catholic priest assigned to it who can be contacted by hospital staff in an emergency. It is generally best, however, to not wait for the last minute.
Each year the parish schedules two healing Masses where this Sacrament is offered to those who are in need of it.
Through this sacrament, comfort and hope is given to the person who is ill. A gift of the Holy Spirit is given, that renews faith in God and wards against depression, discouragement, and anguish. The sacrament also forgives sins, although if the person is conscious and able to do so, it should be preceded by making a confession to the priest during the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The oil used for the anointing is olive oil that was blessed by the bishop during the Chrism Mass of Holy Week.