“By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them.
And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ” (CCC #1499). Through the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, the Church continues the ministry of Jesus—compassion and healing. It is the Prayer of the Church for the sick.
This sacrament was formerly known as Extreme Unction—the name of which gave the impression that it should be received only at the moment of death. Following the Second Vatican Council, the sacrament was renamed and clarified so that a sick person would be eligible to receive this sacrament if he/she was dealing with illness and not in immediate danger of dying. This alleviated the problem of family members calling a priest too late for the sacrament to be administered
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is source of grace and blessing. It is celebrated once a month at Assumption Church in Natchez, after weekend Masses at St. Mary Basilica during Advent, Lent, and on the World Day of the Sick. The sacrament is celebrated on an individual basis during hospital visits, preparing for surgery, or for those who simply request it for spiritual need.
Parish members are encouraged to call the pastor for this sacrament before surgery or if a loved one is seriously ill in the hospital or is confined to a nursing home or at home.
A person who is in good health is not eligible to receive this sacrament.