When we were young, there was a sacrament that was called “Extreme Unction,” a.k.a. “Last Anointing.” You may think that this sacrament is gone now, but in reality, it still exists today—the Vatican just renewed the theology behind it.
Instead of making the sacrament all about death, the focus of the Last Anointing was shifted to healing and new life. In the process, the ritual was overhauled, and the sacrament was given a new name, Anointing of the Sick––a.k.a. the Last Sacrament. As Fr. Don Miller of Franciscan Media aptly puts it, “This sacrament, then, is not to be viewed as the kiss of death, but one of healing and life.”
My Pope takes a closer look at the Last Sacrament and how it helps bring new life to the body, mind, and spirit.
Also Read: Four Popular Sacramentals in the Philippines
Who can receive Anointing of the Sick?
Baptized Catholics who have reached the age of reason and are elderly or seriously ill can receive Anointing of the Sick. And contrary to popular belief, the sacrament is not only for those who are on their deathbeds. Recipients need not be in extremis—that is, in imminent danger of dying—to receive the Last Sacrament. It is also not only for your lolo or lola as even young children can be anointed if their illness or injury warrants it.
What if the ill person recovers? Can he receive Anointing of the Sick again?
Yes. In fact, Canon 1004 states that “This sacrament can be repeated whenever the sick person again falls into a serious sickness after convalescence or whenever a more serious crisis develops during the same sickness.”
What exactly is Anointing of the Sick?
Text by Stephanie Jesena-Novero and Tata Mapa.