Posted on: Oct 08, 2017
“Every human person, no matter how vulnerable or helpless, no matter how young or how old, no matter how healthy, handicapped or sick, no matter how useful or productive for society, is a being of inestimable worth created in the image and likeness of God.” Saint Pope John Paul II
October is Respect Life Month in all Catholic Churches across our nation. Unfortunately, human life is under constant attack in our culture today, from the moment of conception until natural death. As Catholics, we believe that every person is sacred, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
From each tiny child waiting to be born, to individuals nearing death, all are precious and deserve our care and protection! No one should ever be treated callously or carelessly – everyone should be cherished and protected! So let’s have a special place in our prayers this month for all Pro-Life issues, and especially for an end to abortion.
Fr. Niby and I will not be around this week. L Every year all of the priests in our Diocese go on a retreat with our Bishop. We go to St. Meinrad, which is a Benedictine monastery in southern Indiana about 2 ½ hours from here. Each day is filled with prayer and retreat talks and fellowship – it’s a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with our fellow priests as we try to grow closer to our Lord.
The retreat begins tomorrow, October 9 and ends on Friday, October 13. So we will not be having daily Masses this coming week, however, Deacon Larry will be having a Communion Service each day at the normal time Mass would be (8am M,W,Th – 9am T,F).
So what exactly is the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick – who should receive it and what does it do? From the Middle Ages all the way up to the 1960’s (the time of the 2nd Vatican Council), the Anointing of the Sick was celebrated only for people who were dying. It used to be called the Last Rites and many older Catholics still use that phrase today. Technically, the Last Rites are 3 Sacraments – Holy Communion, Confession, and the Anointing. But from a practical standpoint, when I or any priest is called to a hospital or nursing home, the person’s health is so bad that they can’t receive Communion or Confession, so the Anointing of the sick kinda morphed into being called the Last Rites.
The Anointing of the Sick is based on a passage in the Bible, James 5:14-15. “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the priests of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.”
So who can receive the Sacrament – when anyone begins to be in danger of death from a serious illness or elderly people whose strength may be weakening, they should be anointed. I also tell people who will be having a serious surgery to get anointed as well.
So what are the effects of the Anointing of the Sick – the Sacrament always forgives all sins, which is very important, and, if it’s God’s will, physical healing can occur. So now you know all about the awesome Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
Peace & grace,