Care of the Sick
We consider the care of the sick, deceased and their families one of our most important ministries. Upon request, the sacraments of the Anointing of the Sick, Reconciliation, and Holy Communion will be given to all Catholics, regardless of whether they are regular or occasional churchgoers.
Q: Father, is it true that you do not go to the homes of the parishioner any more to give them the last rites?
A: No, it is not true. I do the last rites as before. Call me and I will come and give them.
Formerly priests were called to give the last rites only when a person was literally dying, perhaps only a few hours before death. Often the family waited until the very last moment to call the priest. The priest came and anointed the person, said prayers and if there was a possibility, heard confession and even gave Communion. You can still understand the last rites in this sense.
Please remember the following:
- Today the Church has changed the whole concept of the last rites. It is no longer called the last rites. Instead it is called the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Ideally the priest should be called as soon as the person is ill. As far as possible, avoid calling the priest at the last minute. This is because the Sacrament of the Anointing and blessing are given as soon as somebody is ill, and are meant to bring him or her healing in mind, body, and spirit. Calling the priest when a person becomes ill does not mean that the person is dying. It only means that the ministry of the Church is sought in such a way that the sick person experiences healing. So, do not wait until somebody is on their death bed. Rather call the priest as soon as any illness occurs.
- Secondly and more importantly, if you wait until that very last moment and then call the priest, he may not be home. You really need to draw the attention of the priest to the need of this person well in advance and not wait until it is too late.
- In the case of hospitalization, you need to contact the chaplain at the hospital and ask him to give the sacraments and prayers to your loved one. Then call the parish office to let us know about the hospitalization.
- We have ministers who visit the sick and bring them Communion or prayer of the Church if they are not able to attend Mass. Please call us as soon as somebody is ill to arrange for a home visit.
If you have any questions or concerns about the anointing of the sick, please call the Parish Office at 860-669-8512.