Anointing the Sick

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick gives strength and support and can be administered to anyone struggling with an illness.

Who may Receive?

In the Catholic Church, Extreme Unction or the Last Rites is the anointing at the time of death. Since the Second Vatican Council, this sacrament is now called the Anointing of the Sick and has been broadened to offer healing and comfort in times of illness that may not lead to immediate death. Speaking about a wider implementation of this sacrament, Pope Paul VI advocated for “a wider availability of the sacrament and to extend it—within reasonable limits—even beyond cases of mortal illness."

Unlike the traditional understanding of the Last Rites, the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is, ideally, to be administered in a communal celebration.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that when the sick are anointed they should be "assisted by their pastor and the whole ecclesial community, which is invited to surround the sick in a special way through their prayers and fraternal attention" (1516). "Like all the sacraments the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration…It is very fitting to celebrate it within the Eucharist" (1517).

Spiritual Healing

The healing that occurs in this sacrament of anointing is not necessarily physical healing. While we believe that physical healing can occur through the great power of God, the grace that is infused through this special sacrament is the reminder of the eternal presence of God in our human suffering.

When the priest blessing the oil of anointing, he asks God to "send the power of your Holy Spirit, the Consoler, into this precious oil. Make this oil a remedy for all who are anointed with it; heal them in body, in soul and in spirit, and deliver them from every affliction" (Pastoral Care of the Sick, #123).

"The celebration of the Anointing of the Sick consists essentially in the anointing of the forehead and hands of the sick person (in the Roman Rite) or of other parts of the body (in the Eastern rite), the anointing being accompanied by the liturgical prayer of the celebrant asking for the special grace of this sacrament" (CCC 1531).

What are the requirements to be a Godparent?
Insofar as possible, the child to be baptized is to be given a godparent.

Only one male or one female godparent or one of each sex is to be employed.

Godparents have the following responsibilities:

  1. to present the child for baptism (along with the parents);
  2. to assist the parents in their Christian responsibilities;
  3. to represent the community of faith in which the baptism is celebrated; (1993 Vatican Ecumenical Directory, 98)
  4. to renew their own profession of the Christian faith;
  5. to help the child, by word and example, lead a Christian life and fulfill the obligations of baptism.

In view of this, a person to be admitted as a godparent must:

  1. be designated by the parents or guardians, or, in their absence, by the pastor or minister of the sacrament;
  2. have intention of performing this role;
  3. be at least sixteen years of age (unless the pastor or minister sees just cause for and exception);
  4. be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already shared Holy Communion and who leads a life in harmony with the faith and with the sponsor’s role;
  5. not be bound by any legitimately imposed canonical penalty;
  6. not be the father or mother of the child.

The pastor of the designated godparent is normally responsible for determining that the designee understands the sponsor’s role and is qualified to assume it, providing a letter of eligibility when the baptism is to be celebrated in another parish.

Through pastoral dialogue and catechetical helps, the godparents are to be prepared for their role both as faith-companion for the one to be baptized and as a support for the parents in their Christian responsibilities. They should be invited to participate in the formation opportunities (both spiritual and catechetical) offered to parents of the child to be baptized.

A member of an Oriental rite of the Catholic Church may serve as godparent for one who is baptized in the Latin rite.

An Eastern (Orthodox) Christian may be appointed godparent so long as a Catholic godparent is also present. This applies also to those who belong to churches formally judged to be equivalent to the Eastern Churches (e.g., the Polish National Catholic Church). (1993 Vatican Ecumenical Directory, 98b)

A baptized person who belongs to some other non-Catholic ecclesial community may be asked to serve not as godparent but as a Christian witness as long as a Catholic godparent is also present. (Such a person does not assume the post-baptismal responsibilities of a godparent.)

Catholics who have abandoned the Catholic faith are not to serve as Christian witnesses.

All persons with inquiries regarding Godparents for Confirmation are encouraged to make an appointment to discuss their questions with the pastor of their parish.


Parishioners who will undergo scheduled surgery or hospitalization are encouraged to receive the sacrament of anointing and healing prior to entering the hospital.  Anointing is available after every weekend or weekday Mass.  For a home or health care facility visit call the parish office.