Anointing of the Sick
Part 4 The Ritual: 
Pastoral Care of the Sick

Chapter s44 Anointing of the Sick

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Anointing Outside the Mass

Anointing Within Mass -- Theology

Anointing Within Mass -- Liturgy

Anointing in a Hospital or Institution

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

Have you ever been seriously ill? Have you ever been anointed? How many times? How would you describe the experience? Who was present at the anointing? How did you feel during and after the celebration?

Have you witnessed the sacramental anointing of a sick person? What did you experience? What did the sick person, in your opinion, experience? Have you had the experience of a communal anointing?

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Bibliography

Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy.  Liturgy Document Series 3: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Introduction and Pastoral Notes. Washington DC: Publications Office USCC. 1983. $4.50.  USCC publication number 878-9.

Fink, Peter E. (editor). Anointing of the Sick. Volume 7 of Alternative Futures for Worship. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1987. [Partial Contents: The Human Sciences and the Experiences of Diminishment and Dissolution; Pastoral Reflections on Healing; History of Healing in the Church; Alternative rituals, e.g. "Ritual of Healing for Families of the Terminally Ill," "Ritual of Healing for Persons in Mid-Life," "Liturgy of Healing to Replace the Blessing of Throats for the Feast of St. Blase."]

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Anointing Outside the Mass

  1. Structure and elements of the rite

    1. Gathering

      1. Hello. [Health assessment.]

      2. Baptism (water: not sin but baptism/love). Prayer

    2. Story Telling

      1. Depending on health assessment, as Sunday Eucharist, including General Intercessions

    3. Healing

      1. Imposition of hands

      2. Berakah: Blessing God over the oil

      3. Anointing

      4. Prayer

    4. Meal Sharing

      1. (Thanksgiving Prayer / [Eucharistic Prayer])

      2. The Lord's Prayer

      3. Meal Sharing (Communion) [match their Sunday experience]

      4. Prayer after Communion

    5. Commissioning

      1. Blessing

      2. Announcements (Contact with parish)

      3. Touch.  (Kiss of Peace)  Good-by

      4. Touch is is a very important part of the sacrament, historically, theologically, and pastorally

        1. Imposition of hands

        2. <
        3. Touch during the anointing

        4. Touch (Imposition of Hands) essential to every sacrament

          1. Baptism - imposition at the beginning

          2. Confirmation - imposition during the chrismation

          3. Eucharist - epiclesis (St. Augustine: "There you are on the altar.")

          4. Reconciliation - imposition during absolution

          5. Ordination - imposition in silence

          6. Marriage - epiclesis, Nuptial Blessing.

          7. Anointing - Imposition, touch

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        Anointing Within Mass - Theology

        1.  Sacraments are acts of worship

        Even before we consider the "downward" movement of the sacraments, they have an "upward" movement.

        Anabatic - upward - worship...

        Katabatic - downward - give grace...

        Constitution on the Liturgy,  59:  "The purpose of the sacraments is ... to give worship to God...."

        Note:  For those Catholics formed by the Baltimore Catechism, this anabatic element is missing (almost?) completely.

        304. What is a sacrament?  A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.  -- The Baltimore Catechism / Revised Edition (1941) available online at   http://www.catholicity.com/baltimore-catechism/

        2.  Sacraments are public acts

        Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: 

        26. Liturgical services are not private functions, but are celebrations of the Church, which is the "sacrament of unity," namely, the holy people united and ordered under their bishops [33]

        Therefore liturgical services pertain to the whole body of the Church; they manifest it and have effects upon it; but they concern the individual members of the Church in different ways, according to their differing rank, office, and actual participation.

        27. It is to be stressed that whenever rites, according to their specific nature, make provision for communal celebration involving the presence and active participation of the faithful, this way of celebrating them is to be preferred, so far as possible, to a celebration that is individual and quasi-private.

        This applies with especial force to the celebration of Mass and the administration of the sacraments, even though every Mass has of itself a public and social nature.

        3.  Sacraments instruct

        Constitution on the Liturgy, 59:  "The purpose of the sacraments is ...  to give worship to God; because they are signs they also instruct."

        59. The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the body of Christ, and, finally, to give worship to God; because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it; that is why they are called "sacraments of faith." They do indeed impart grace, but, in addition, the very act of celebrating them most effectively disposes the faithful to receive this grace in a fruitful manner, to worship God duly, and to practice charity.

        Compare the Constitution on the Liturgy with the Baltimore Catechism

        304. What is a sacrament?  A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.  -- The Baltimore Catechism / Revised Edition (1941) available online at   http://www.catholicity.com/baltimore-catechism/

        Anointing Within Mass - Liturgy / Ritual

        1. Structure and elements of the rite

          1. Gathering

            1. Baptism (water: not sin but baptism/love). Prayer.

          2. Story Telling

            1. as Sunday Eucharist

            2. homily

            3. General Intercessions

          3. Healing

            1. Imposition of hands.

            2. Berakah: Blessing God over the oil.

            3. Anointing.

            4. Prayer

          4. Meal Sharing

            1. Thanksgiving Prayer / Eucharistic Prayer

            2. The Lord's Prayer

            3. Touch (Kiss of Peace)

            4. Communion

            5. Prayer after Communion

          5. Commissioning

            1. Blessing.

            2. Announcements (Contact with parish

            Course Assignment:  Plan a communal celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.(Course Outcome 2) 

            The purpose of this assignment is to 1) to help you become familiar with the Rite of Anointing celebrated during a Sunday parish Mass; 2) to encourage you to sort through what you have learned about the history of the sacrament and in order to select those issues about which you feel your parishioners are most in need of catechesis; 3) to help you to begin to develop a "Theology of Suffering" and preach this in homilies; and 4) to help you begin to practice the skills of drawling these issues from the Word of God and helping today's Catholics see the mystery of suffering in their lives. 

            The rite to be used on this occasion is given in Chapter 4 of the ritual "Anointing of the Sick, Part 2 Anointing Within Mass"  (Ritual #133-148; The Rites, pp 831-839).   For the purposes of this assignment you are to pretend you are to: 1)  Select a specific parish and date -- a parish with which you are familiar or one you make up.  Describe this context in the introduction to your ritual.  2)  Imagine that you are the priest presiding at this liturgy and indicate in your script the Scripture Readings, Ritual Prayers and Ritual Actions which you will use on this occasion.  3) Include the full text of the homily you will preach; and 4) also include any instructions or directions written or oral that will be give to the participating congregation. 

            1. Gathering    Ritual  #135-136   Use the options given in #135-136 or (preferably) begin the Eucharist with a water rite which emphasizes the relation between Anointing of the Sick is and the commitment we make at Baptism. 

            Hymn possibilities

            Ruth Duck,  "Healing River of the Spirit" (Pilgrim Press) used with the hymn tune BEACH SPRING
            Genevieve Glenn, "Tall Stands the Tree Beside the Stream" CM (OCP)
            Fred Hellerman/Fran Minkof, "O Healing River" -call and response (GIA)

            2. Storytelling   Ritual #137     I suggest that you pick a specific Sunday outside of the seasons of Lent/Easter and Advent/Christmas. The lectionary readings can be found on the website of the USCCB (click "readings" and a calendar will appear, click on the day and the reading for that day will appear).  If the parish you have chosen this exercise is not familiar with the communal celebration of the Anointing of the Sick, you may want to select readings that treat more explicitly the healing nature of the ministry of Jesus. This selection is to be made in accordance to the rules given in the Table of Liturgical Days.   In your homily apply the readings to the situation (sacrament of anointing) and integrate a catechesis on the sacrament.  Give whatever practical information that you think would be necessary and useful for this particular congregation. 

            3. Healing   Ritual #138-144   Do not duplicate the "General Intercessions" with the "Litany."   Bless the oil using "option A" Ritual #140, The Rites, p 824:  "God of all consolation, you chose and sent your Son..." 

            Regarding the anointing with oil, I suggest the following: 

            Dip thumb Through this holy anointing
            Down foreheadmay the Lord in his love and mercy
            Across foreheadhelp you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.
            Dip thumb 
            Down hand 1May the Lord
            Across hand 1who frees you from sin
            Down hand 2save you
            Across hand 2and raise you up. R. Amen.

             

            Dip thumb N., par cette onction sainte,
            Down foreheadque le Seigneur en sa grande bonte,
            Across forehead vous reconforte par la grace de l'Esprit SaintR. Amen.
            Dip thumbAinsi,
            Down hand 1vous ayant libere
            Across hand 1de tous peches,
            Down hand 2qu'il vous sauve
            Across hand 2et vous releve.   R. Amen.

             

            Dip thumb Por esta santa uncion y por su bondadosa misericordia
            Down foreheadte ayude el Senor
            Across foreheadcon la gracia del Espiritu Santo. R. Amen.
            Dip thumbParaque,
            Down hand 1 libre de tus pecados
            Across hand 1te conceda la salvacion
            Down hand 2y te conforte
            Across hand 2en tu enfermedad.  R. Amen.

             

            Dip thumb Durch diese heilige Salbung
            Down foreheadhelfe dir der Herr in seinem reichen Erbarmen,
            Across foreheader stehe dir bei mit der Kraft des heiligen Geistes
            Dip thumb

            Der Herr,

            Down hand 1der dich von Sunden befreit,
            Across hand 1rette dich,
            Down hand 2in seiner Gnade
            Across hand 2 richte er dich auf. R. Amen.

             

            The anointing prayer is derived from the Letter of James 5:13-15 (NAB):  13  Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. 14  Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord,  15   and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.

            Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.  May the Lord  who frees you from sin save you and raise you up. R. Amen.

             Liturgical Oils

            O C Oleum catechumenorum (Oil of the Catechumens)
            S C Sacra chrisma (Sacred Chrism)*
            O I  Oleum infirmorum (Oil of the Sick)

            *Note: S C is sometimes marked O S Oleum Sacrum (Holy Oil).  Do not mistake O C to mean Oil of Chrism.

            4. Meal Sharing   Ritual # 143-146  You do not need to type out the text of the Ordinary of the Mass or the Eucharistic Prayer or the prayers of the Communion Rite.  Indicate only those options you have chosen especially for this occasion.   Note that the Ritual gives several options for this Mass that are not printed in most editions of the Sacramentary.

            5. Commissioning  Ritual #147-148   You may wish to include additional options,  such as a reception in the parish hall for those who were anointed.

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            Practice Assignment

            Pretend that you preaching in a parish on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A.  Prepare a homily for this occasion.  During this Eucharist, following your homily, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be celebrated.  The parish has experienced communal anointing at Sunday Eucharist before, but there still needs to be some catechesis on the sacrament and some explanation as to why we do it communally and why it is celebrated during Sunday Eucharist.  The readings are listed below for your convenience. 

            Reading I Acts 8:5-8, 14-17

            Philip went down to the city of Samaria
            and proclaimed the Christ to them.
            With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip
            when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.
            For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice,
            came out of many possessed people,
            and many paralyzed or crippled people were cured.
            There was great joy in that city.

            Now when the apostles in Jerusalem
            heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God,
            they sent them Peter and John,
            who went down and prayed for them,
            that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
            for it had not yet fallen upon any of them;
            they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
            Then they laid hands on them
            and they received the Holy Spirit.

            Responsorial Psalm -- Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

            R. (1)
            Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
            or:
            R.
            Alleluia.
            Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
            sing praise to the glory of his name;
            proclaim his glorious praise.
            Say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds!"
            R.
            Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
            or:
            R.
            Alleluia.
            "Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
            sing praise to your name!"
            Come and see the works of God,
            his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
            R.
            Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
            or:
            R.
            Alleluia.
            He has changed the sea into dry land;
            through the river they passed on foot.
            Therefore let us rejoice in him.
            He rules by his might forever.
            R.
            Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
            or:
            R.
            Alleluia.
            Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
            what he has done for me.
            Blessed be God who refused me not
            my prayer or his kindness!
            R.
            Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
            or:
            R.
            Alleluia.

            Reading II 1 Pt 3:15-18

            Beloved:
            Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
            Always be ready to give an explanation
            to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
            but do it with gentleness and reverence,
            keeping your conscience clear,
            so that, when you are maligned,
            those who defame your good conduct in Christ
            may themselves be put to shame.
            For it is better to suffer for doing good,
            if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.
            For Christ also suffered for sins once,
            the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous,
            that he might lead you to God.
            Put to death in the flesh,
            he was brought to life in the Spirit.


            Gospel  John 14:15-21

            Jesus said to his disciples:
            "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
            And I will ask the Father,
            and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
            the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
            because it neither sees nor knows him.
            But you know him, because he remains with you,
            and will be in you.
            I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
            In a little while the world will no longer see me,
            but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
            On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
            and you are in me and I in you.
            Whoever has my commandments and observes them
            is the one who loves me.
            And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
            and I will love him and reveal myself to him."

            Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright 1998, 1997, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

            (Posting #3  Communal Anointing: Script)  Plan a communal celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.  The purpose of this assignment is to 1) to help you become familiar with the Rite of Anointing celebrated during a Sunday parish Mass; 2) to encourage you to sort through what you have learned about the history of the sacrament and in order to select those issues about which you feel your parishioners are most in need of catechesis; 3) to help you to begin to develop a "Theology of Suffering" and preach this in homilies; and 4) to help you begin to practice the skills of drawling these issues from the Word of God and helping today's Catholics see the mystery of suffering in their lives.   ---  The rite to be used on this occasion is given in Chapter 4 of the ritual "Anointing of the Sick, Part 2 Anointing Within Mass"  (Ritual #133-148; The Rites, pp 831-839).   For the purposes of this assignment you are to pretend you are to: 1)  Select a specific parish and date -- a parish with which you are familiar or one you make up.  Describe this context in the introduction to your ritual.  2)  Imagine that you are the priest presiding at this liturgy and indicate in your script the Scripture Readings, Ritual Prayers and Ritual Actions which you will use on this occasion.  3) Include the full text of the homily you will preach; and 4) also include any instructions or directions written or oral that will be give to the participating congregation. 

            Gathering    Ritual  #135-136   Use the options given in #135-136 or (preferably) begin the Eucharist with a water rite which emphasizes the relation between Anointing of the Sick is and the commitment we make at Baptism. 

            Storytelling   Ritual #137     I suggest that you pick a specific Sunday outside of the seasons of Lent/Easter and Advent/Christmas. The lectionary readings can be found on the website of the USCCB (click "readings" and a calendar will appear, click on the day and the reading for that day will appear).  If the parish you have chosen this exercise is not familiar with the communal celebration of the Anointing of the Sick, you may want to select readings that treat more explicitly the healing nature of the ministry of Jesus. This selection is to be made in accordance to the rules given in the Table of Liturgical Days.   In your homily apply the readings to the situation (sacrament of anointing) and integrate a catechesis on the sacrament.  Give whatever practical information that you think would be necessary and useful for this particular congregation. 

            Anointing   Ritual #138-144   Do not duplicate the "General Intercessions" with the "Litany."   Bless the oil using "option A" Ritual #140, The Rites, p 824:  "God of all consolation, you chose and sent your Son..."

            Meal Sharing   Ritual # 143-146  You do not need to type out the text of the Ordinary of the Mass or the Eucharistic Prayer or the prayers of the Communion Rite.  Indicate only those options you have chosen especially for this occasion.   Note that the Ritual gives several options for this Mass that are not printed in most editions of the Sacramentary.

            Commissioning  Ritual #147-148   You may wish to include additional options,  such as a reception in the parish hall for those who were anointed.

            8. As the eucharist is the basic sacrament, it gives it form and shape to all the sacraments. As the shape of the eucharist is gathering, story telling, meal sharing, and commissioning so the shape of Anointing is gathering, story telling, anointing, commissioning.

            9. Gathering. The Rite begins with water, which reminds us of our baptism. This is next in line. This is not blessing the house, or simply forgiving sins, it reminds of the unity of all sacraments; below the iceberg which metaphor is active, that of the *shoebox* or that of the *ripples in the pond*. In baptism die with Christ to sarx in sinfulness and rise to new life. Anointing of the sick is one way in which this dying and rising is manifest. The ding is real dying as exemplified in illness and suffering. All sacraments work out our baptism.

            Story Telling

            The liturgy of the word is integral to all the sacraments sacraments are worded sign. The word makes present Christ in the scripture.

            The two key passages are Mark 6 and James.

            When the anointing is a regular occurrence in a parish, these passages are not to be used each time for they would then lose their meaning by overuse. Consider how the Sunday readings are most always appropriate for Masses healing the sick. Note in the table of liturgical days that one or the other reading can be substituted on those days that are not among numbers 1 to 4 in the table of liturgical days.

            Blessing the Oil

            Cannon 999 states that "incase of necessity, the priest may bless the oil." This necessity is not only in the cases where there is no oil, this necessity may also be pastoral necessity, that is the need for the people to hear the Berakah as it is proclaimed. Think of the parallel of the eucharist, a communion service and the eucharist itself.       

            "The full participation of those present must be fostered by every means, especially through the use of appropriate songs, so that the celebration manifests the Easter joy which is proper to this sacrament" (#108).

            "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt. 18:20).

            Anointing in a Hospital or Institution

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            To Think About

            1. What ministerial skills would you like to possess in order to help your parishioners celebrate this sacrament fruitfully? What are you going to do in your parish to encourage the more frequent celebration of the sacrament? If you were to preach on the sacrament, what would be the major points of your homily?

            2. List the major changes that the Second Vatican Council wished to effect in the sacrament of Extreme Unction.

            3. Memorize the prayer which accompanies the anointing in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick ("Through this holy anointing . . .")

            4. Know the structure and elements of the rite. Which elements are primary and which are secondary?

            5. What is the petition (in your own words) of the BRK over the oil?

            6. How sick does a person have to be to be anointed?

            7. What is the Latin name of the "Sacrament for the Dying"?

            8. Explain the role The Lord's Prayer plays in each of the seven sacraments.

            9. Act out the following: __________, a special minister of the Eucharist, brings Holly Communion to __________ who is ill at home.

            10. Act out the following: A priest, Rev. __________ comes to the home of __________, who cannot leave the house because of old age and feeble health, and celebrates the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

            11. Prepare an instruction on the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick for an insert for your parish bulletin (one 8 1/2 by 11 typed page, single spaced, both sides). Before typing this page, try to determine what your parish currently thinks about the sacrament and what their attitudes are toward the sacrament. Decide what are the things that you most need to say to your parish to bring them to a better understanding of the sacrament.

            12. Study the prayers for the blessing of the oil. What is the Church believing about the Sacrament of the Sick?

            13. Write down the biblical uses of oil (the times God has used oil as an instrument of healing), and a list of contemporary (and personal) experiences of the use of oil. Compose a Berakah using these elements blessing God over the oil and asking for healing.

            14. Make a video of the rite. In making the tapes, experiment a bit. How are you going to use water at the beginning of the rite? How does it say baptism? Plastic squeeze bottle? Are you going to celebrate Penance? Is Penance necessary? Or is it better to concentrate on one rite at a time? How are you going to apply the General Principle "Less is more"? Are you going to celebrate Holy Communion? How much should the rite look like Mass? How are you going to do the blessing and indulgence?

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            Copyright: Tom Richstatter.  All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 05/02/17.  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org