Today’s set of readings, including the psalm, gives us an opportunity to explore the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. (The World Day of the Sick, February 11 each year, occurs later this week also.) Usually this sacrament is celebrated individually outside of Mass at a health care facility or a sick person’s home.
However, the Pastoral Care of the Sick, 108–10 and 131–48, provides for the option of celebrating it at a diocesan or parish gathering when there is a large number of people seeking the sacrament. Depending on your community’s circumstances, you might decide to take this opportunity to celebrate this sacrament either at one of your community’s Sunday Masses or at a special Mass this weekend.Prepare your community members to participate fully in the Anointing of the Sick, whether as one being anointed or as those praying with the sick. Click To Tweet
You will want to discern well with your parish leaders not only if a communal celebration like this would benefit your community but also how to prepare your community members to participate fully, whether as one being anointed or as those praying with the sick. Many still know and treat this sacrament as what was formally called “last rites” that signaled imminent death.
Though Anointing of the Sick is indeed a sacrament for the dying, it also recognizes that God’s grace is given to “those whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age” (“Pastoral Care of the Sick,” 108).