Sacrament of Last Rites

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"Is anyone among you discouraged?  Let him pray.  Is anyone of you happy?  Let him sing songs to God.  If anyone is sick, let him call on the elders of the Church.  They shall pray for him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  The prayer said in faith will save the sick person, the Lord will raise him up and if has has committed any sins, he will be forgiven"  (James 5:13-15)

What is the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?  It is the Sacrament which gives health and strength to the soul and sometimes to the body to persons who are in danger of death.  The words "extreme unction" means "last anointing".  In Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders, the body is anointed with holy oil.  In the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, the body is anointed for the last time.  Hence the name.

How is Extreme Unction given?  After praying over the sick person, the priest anoints (makes the Sign of the Cross with the Holy Oil) on the person's eyes, ears, nostrils, lips hands and feet.

What does the priest say while anointing the sick person?  He says "Through this holy anointing and by His most tender mercy, may the Lord pardon you what sins you have committed bi sight, hearing, speech and so on".

What does Extreme Unction do for your soul?  It give you more Sanctifying Grace, helps you to bear your sufferings, strengthens you against the temptations of the devil, sometimes gives back your health, takes away temporal punishment due to sin and prepares you for immediate entry in Heaven.

Does Extreme Unction take away sin?  It takes away all your venial sins and even your mortal sins if you are unable to confess them but are truly sorry for them.

Who can give Extreme Unction?  Only a Catholic priest.

Who can receive Extreme Unction?  Any Catholic in danger of death from sickness, old age or accident not only can but should receive Extreme Unction.   However, it may not be given to infants or to anyone who has never had the use of reason.

When should you receive Extreme Unction?  Whenever the sickness or accident is so serious that it could cause death.

How often can you receive Extreme Unction?  Only once in the same danger of death.  However if a new danger arises, you can receive it again.

What should be done in case of sudden death?  Send for a priest right away because Extreme Unction may be given even after a person is apparently dead.   Even when a person displays all the usual manifestations of death, the soul may still not have departed from the body.  Therefore the Church allows Extreme Unction to be administered for a time after "death" has occurred.

Why is it wrong to wait until the sick person is unconscious before sending for the priest?  Because the sick person must be conscious in order to benefit the most from the Sacrament.

What kind of sin is it to deprive a sick person of Extreme Unction?  A mortal sin.  It often happens that a convert is the only Catholic in a family.   If this is your case, therefore, you should tell your relatives to send for the priest if you are ever in danger of death.

What should be done before the priest comes to anoint the sick person?  Spread a white cloth on a table beside the bed.  Then put a crucifix, tow blessed candles, a bottle of holy water, a glass of drinking water, a spoon and some cotton on the table.   A member of the family, carrying the lighted candle, should meet the priest at the door and lead him to the sickroom.  No one should talk to the priest, for he probably has the Holy Eucharist with him.  Everyone should kneel down when he enters.  If you do not have the above items, call the priest anyway.

What does the priest do when he enters the sickroom?  First, he says some prayers, sprinkles the sick person with holy water and hears his Confession.   Then he gives him Holy Communion and Extreme Unction, and finally, the Last Blessing.  All of these together are called the Last Sacraments or Last Rites of the Church.  Everyone else leaves the room while the priest hears the sick person's Confession.

 

Baptism    Confirmation    Holy Eucharist    Reconciliation    Last Rites    Holy Orders    Matrimony

 

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