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Home / Worship & Sacraments / Anointing of the Sick & Last Rites

Anointing of the Sick & Last Rites

“Jesus' care and concern for the sick permeates the Gospels. Though primarily concerned with spiritual sickness, He was not indifferent to bodily afflictions and seemed often to point to the relationship between the two. To be faithful to Him, the Church must care for those who are sick in body as well as spirit.” 

~ National Catechetical Directory, 127

The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has been restored to fuller use since Vatican II. It is one of the sacraments of healing for those of all ages who face serious health issues of any kind: physical, mental, psychological, emotional, etc. It may be celebrated by anyone who, for example, suffers from a major or prolonged illness, anticipates major surgery, is hospitalized, or has reached an advanced age.  Those who receive this sacrament are granted spiritual healing and, on occasion, an actual healing of the condition for which they request healing.

During the year, a communal anointing celebration is held for those in need of the sacrament. At other times of individual need, please contact the pastor to arrange a time to be anointed.

End-of-Life Issues

Comfort and Compassion: A Catholic Declaration on Life and Death is a comprehensive resource published by the diocesan Respect Life office that addresses church teaching on end-of-life issues such as medically-assisted nutrition and hydration, pain management and palliative care, the MOST (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment) form, the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) form, organ donations, and cremation.  As a companion to Comfort and Compassion, the diocese also offers an Advance Directive document designed for the state of North Carolina to assist in ensuring that your care and treatment are consistent with the Catholic faith and your wishes.

You may download a copy of both documents from the diocese.

Last Rites

The term "last rites" refers to the three sacraments--Anointing of the Sick, Reconciliation, and Eucharist--received when one is approaching death. The final reception of Eucharist before dying is called Viaticum, which means “food for the journey.”

It is not necessary to wait until death is imminent to request last rites, and, in fact, a priest may not be available at that moment in time. If you know of a Catholic approaching death who would like to receive last rites, please call the pastor.