Divine Worship


The Ritual of Anointing

Pastoral Notes - Anointing of the Sick


'The priest is the only proper minister of the anointing of the sick" (PCS #16). Under no circumstances may any person other than a bishop or priest administer this sacrament or apply the oil of the sick.

'If the anointing is to be an effective sacramental symbol, there should be a generous use of oil, so that it will be seen and felt by the sick person as a sign of the Spirit's healing and strengthening presence. For the same reason it is not desirable to wipe off the oil after the anointing.' (PCS #1 07)

'Depending on the culture and traditions of the place, as well as the condition of the sick person, the priest may also anoint additional parts of the body, for example, the area of pain or injury. He does not repeat the sacramental form.' (PCS #1 24)

The regular and repeated use of the .emergency form" for all hospital patients is not intended by the liturgical books. Most new admissions to hospitals are properly candidates for the full rite or for the abbreviated rites for hospitals.

It should be noted that Pastoral Care of the Sick in the 1983 edition is the only official liturgical book for rites for anointing of the sick and viaticum. The pastoral notes and introductions for this edition are recommended re-reading for every priest.