God’s healing love at times of illness, frailty or when someone is close to death, it is known also by other names, is distinguished from other forms of religious anointing or “unction” (an older term with the same meaning) in that it is intended, as its name indicates, for the benefit of a sick person.
The Catholic Church sees the effects of the sacrament as follows. As the sacrament of Marriage gives grace for the married state, the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick gives grace for the state into which people enter through sickness. Through the sacrament a gift of the Holy Spirit is given, that renews confidence and faith in God and strengthens against temptations to discouragement, despair and anguish at the thought of death and the struggle of death; it prevents from losing Christian hope in God’s justice, truth and salvation.
The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:
- the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church;
- the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure, in a Christian manner, the sufferings of illness or old age;
- the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of penance;
- the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
- the preparation for passing over to eternal life.”
The duly blessed oil used in the sacrament is, as laid down in the Apostolic Constitution Sacram unctionem infirmorum, pressed from olives or from other plants. It is blessed by the bishop of the diocese at the Chrism Mass he celebrates on Holy Thursday or on a day close to it. If oil blessed by the bishop is not available, the priest administering the sacrament may bless the oil, but only within the framework of the celebration.
At Middlemore Hospital
If you wish Fr. Maurice Ford, the Hospital Chaplain, to visit your family member in the hospital, contact him on 021 232 2273.