Anointing of the Sick

The sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is the Church's way of reaching out to those who are sick to bring them comfort and healing. This great sacrament used to be called ‘Extreme Unction’, over the centuries it became regarded as a sacrament reserved for those who were thought to be dying. In more recent times, the church has attempted to restore the ancient practice of offering this sacrament to any who are sick, even if there is no indication that death is imminent.

So who may receive the Sacrament of the Sick? Well, anyone who is suffering from a condition which is ongoing and which significantly impairs their well-being and quality of life, or anyone who is suffering from an illness which requires a major medical procedure to avert a threat to their life, even though they may, at the time, seem and feel quite well.

Sometimes people may be anointed who have no specific medical problem but who are experiencing the increasing weakness of advancing years. Some seek to be anointed when there is nothing physical wrong with them but they are overwhelmed with grief after the loss of a spouse or a child. So the criteria can be quite widely drawn.

Please do not hesitate to call a priest as soon as a person is seriously ill or weakened in some way, or about to undergo a major operation. Through this sacrament, Christ expresses his loving care for the sick, touching their lives with his grace.


Each year, on a Sunday close to the World Day of Prayer for the Sick, we have an afternoon Mass at which the Sacrament of Anointing is given to parishioners who are seriously sick or weak through old age. Registration forms are made available for several weeks beforehand.