The Anointing of the sick is a sacrament which is given to those who are suffering any kind of illness, whether physical, mental or spiritual. It is a special ritual that involves the anointing of the sick person with oil and praying over them that God would bring them healing. Whilst physical healing can occur, the sacrament is primarily one that conveys a spiritual grace of God.
The anointing of the sick conveys several graces and imparts gifts of strengthening in the Holy Spirit against anxiety, discouragement, and temptation, and conveys peace and fortitude. These graces flow from the atoning death of Jesus Christ, for "this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases’" (Matt. 8:17).
The Gospel writer, St Mark refers to the sacrament when he recounts how Jesus sent out the twelve disciples to preach, and "they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them" (Mark 6:13). In his epistle (letter), James says, "Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven." (Jas. 5:14–15).
Isn't it just for those who are dying? In short - no. Anointing is important for those who are close to death, and is included as part of the 'last rites' however the graces it imparts are available to all who are suffering any form of sickness not just those close to death.
How do I receive the sacrament? Or how can I arrange it for a loved one? If you are well enough to, you can simply call Fr Daryl (see the Contact page). If you would like to have a priest visit and/or anoint you in the event you are admitted hospital you should make these wishes clear to hospital staff, or to family members who can contact the church. If you have a loved one in hospital, and would like them to receive the sacrament, discuss it with them if possible - if they are not able to respond but you are sure they would want to receive the sacrament you can either ask the hospital to contact the church on your behalf or contact us directly.