Anointing of the Sick and Hospital Visits
Formerly known as “Extreme Unction’ and ‘Last Rites’ The Sacrament of the Sick, like all Sacraments, is grace from God; nothing more – nothing less. The anointing is not some magic pill guaranteed to heal; it is not an E-ZPass where souls are greased to get through pearly gates and bypass the purgation process; if a person dies without being anointed it is not automatic condemnation to hell as some people seem to fear. God doesn’t work like that. The grief of losing loved ones is bad enough without adding anxiety if they should expire without being anointed.
The Sacrament of the Sick is praying for healing of body, mind and soul and may be repeated at different stages of an illness’ progression or at different time of life. The reapplication of the Sacrament has more to do with the emotional support and the consolation of prayer at different times of need than an attempt to build up more layers of grace. It is not necessary to re-anoint someone in their final hours of life if they had been anointed days or weeks previously; we can and should have faith that God’s grace is sufficient no matter the quantity / frequency of anointing.
As a result of HIPAA laws, unfriendly software, and human error in the admissions process, the clergy are frequently unaware of parishioners in the hospitals. Although the goal is that the clergy be able to get a list of parishioners admitted to the hospital, in our experience the system(s) have been unreliable. This is currently true of all the hospitals in Erie. If you know of someone in the hospital who is looking for a visit from the clergy call the rectory and let us know. Additionally the priests are more than happy to anoint people prior to their going in for surgery. Between post-op precautions and patients being indisposed it is often more convenient and appropriate to get anointed pre-op than post op.
We pray that you stay well, but if you need the Sacrament we are happy to celebrate it with you, just let us know.