When should someone receive the Sacrament of the Sick?
“Great care and concern should be taken to see that those of the faithful whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age receive [the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick]. A prudent or reasonably sure judgment, without scruple, is sufficient for deciding on the seriousness of the illness; if necessary a doctor may be consulted.” Pastoral Care of the Sick
This makes it clear that no one should put off being anointed. However, the Sacrament of the Sick is not the “last rites.”
How is the Sacrament of the Sick different from "last rites?
The primary purposes of this Sacrament are comfort during illness, strength and courage to face the illness, and renewal of hope for recovery. In a sense, it consecrates the sick person and everyone and everything related to his/her health care in the hope of healing. The Rite is realistic about our fragile human nature and knows not every illness will end in a cure. So when someone falls seriously ill or notably weakens in their condition, the time has already arrived from the Sacrament of Anointing. Also people undergoing serious surgery or seriously ill children may also be Anointed.
What are “last rites”?
If someone has been Anointed when an illness began, or later as an illness worsened, “last rites” would include the Sacrament of Penance and Viaticum (= “food for the journey” or Holy Communion before death). Of course, depending on the acute nature of the illness or injury, Anointing might be included.
How and when can the Sacrament of the Sick be arranged?
If you or a loved one wishes to receive the Sacrament of the Sick, please contact the parish office at (585) 394-1220. They will put you in touch with a priest to schedule a time to come to offer the Sacrament