Divine Worship


Anointing of the Sick in the Hospital

Pastoral Notes - Anointing of the Sick


Although the sacrament of anointing should be celebrated whenever possible in accordance with the full rites, the special circumstances of hospital ministry often make it necessary to abbreviate the rite. In these cases the priest should use the format prescribed in Chapter VI of Pastoral Care of the Sick #149-160 and in Chapter VII, especially #259-274. These rites should be studied and used by priests who are called to minister in hospital emergency rooms or trauma situations. Whenever possible the sacraments of penance and viaticum should precede the anointing of the sick in emergencies.

In extreme emergencies, when danger of death from illness or injury is sudden, the priest may only be able to offer the minimum of sacramental rites. In less extreme cases, it may be possible to use the 'Continuous Rite of Penance, Anointing, and Viaticum' (PCS 236-258) for people who are dying. Even in these emergency situations, family and hospital staff should take part in the celebration whenever this is possible.