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Extreme Unction

The sacrament of Extreme Unction can be administered by any bishop or priest, as they are the ordinary ministers of this sacrament. While anointing the parts of the person’s body associated with the senses, he repeats the words of the form of this Sacrament “Through this anointing and through His most loving mercy, may the Lord forgive thee whatever wrong thou hast done through sight,” (and so on for the other senses).

The matter for this sacrament is the olive oil consecrated for this purpose by the bishop on Holy Thursday. With it are to be anointed the eyes, because they are the organs of the sense of sight; the ears, because of hearing; the nostrils, because of smell; the lips, because of taste or speech; the hands because of touch; and the feet because of walking.

The sacrament of Extreme Unction produces the following effects:
  • It increases sanctifying grace;
  • It remits venial sins, and also mortal sins which the sick person, if contrite, is unable to confess;
  • It takes away weakness and sloth which remain even after pardon has been obtained;
  • It gives strength to bear illness patiently, to withstand temptation and to die a holy death;
  • It can help restore physical health, if it is for the good of the soul, by supernaturally assisting the body’s natural abilities to heal.
Christians should request this Sacrament for themselves or for others when they suffer an illness that is dangerous and may result in death.

If possible, the sick person should also first receive the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist as Holy Viaticum. For this reason, family and friends should not delay in calling a priest when a person is gravely ill or hospitalized.

Those who are anointed while they still retain the use of their senses and while there remains some hope of their recovery, can receive this sacrament with better dispositions, and may therefore be able to derive greater benefit from it, including the possibility of restored health.

The sick should prepare to receive Extreme Unction by doing what is necessary to be in the state of grace, to be properly disposed with confidence in the power of this sacrament and in the mercy of God, and to be humbly resigned to the will of the Lord. On seeing the priest, they should feel thankful to God for having sent him; and should gladly receive the comforts of religion.

Please contact us as soon as possible if you desire or know someone who desires or is in need of the sacrament of Extreme Unction.