Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Celebration of the Christian Mystery 379 II. W ho R eceives and W ho A dministers T his S acrament ? In case of grave illness . . . 1514 TheAnointing of the Sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.” 130 1515 If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. The same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pro- nounced. “. . . let him call for the presbyters of the Church” 1516 Only priests (bishops and presbyters) are ministers of the Anointing of the Sick. 131 It is the duty of pastors to instruct the faithful on the benefits of this sacrament. The faithful should encourage the sick to call for a priest to receive this sacrament. The sick should prepare themselves to receive it with good disposi- tions, assisted by their pastor and the whole ecclesial community, which is invited to surround the sick in a special way through their prayers and fraternal attention. III. H ow I s T his S acrament C elebrated ? 1517 Like all the sacraments the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration, 132 whether it takes place in the family home, a hospital or church, for a single sick person or a whole group of sick persons. It is very fitting to celebrate it within the Eucharist, the memorial of the Lord’s Passover. If circum- stances suggest it, the celebration of the sacrament can be preceded by the sacrament of Penance and followed by the sacrament of the Eucharist. As the sacrament of Christ’s Passover the Eucharist should always be the last sacrament of the earthly journey, the “viaticum” for “passing over” to eternal life. 130 SC 73; cf. CIC, cann. 1004 § 1; 1005; 1007; CCEO, can. 738. 131 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1697; 1719; CIC, can. 1003; CCEO, can. 739 § 1. 132 Cf. SC 27. 1140 1524