Anointing the Sick


Anointing of the sick, known to many older Catholics as Extreme Unction, is administered to bring spiritual and even physical strength during an illness, especially near the time of death, but not exclusively. It is likely one of the last sacraments one will receive. When the recipient is physically able, he or she is encouraged to incorporate the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist with the anointing, depending on circumstances.

Like all the sacraments, holy anointing was instituted by Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry. The Catechism explains, “This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the Apostle…” (CCC 1511; Mark 6:13; Jas 5:14-115).