PCS 98: Catechesis on Anointing

This introduction makes assumptions that are not always followed or even noticed by pastoral care ministers. We read in PCS 98 a few elements of the catechetical approach the rite assumes is taking place at the priest’s initiative.

The sick person is invited to ponder the nature and meaning of human illness and suffering. Also to be explored (if not strengthened) is the bond within the faith community between those who are not present and the rest of the Body.

Read the section, then more commentary follows afterward:

In the course of his visits to the sick, the priest should try to explain two complementary aspects of this sacrament: through the sacrament of anointing the Church supports the sick in their struggle against illness and continues Christs messianic work of healing. All who are united in the bond of a common baptism and a common faith are joined together in the body of Christ since what happens to one member affects all. The sacrament of anointing effectively expresses the share that each one has in the sufferings of others. When the priest anoints the sick, he is anointing in the name and with the power of Christ himself (see Mark 6:13). On be­half of the whole community, he is ministering to those members who are suffering. This message of hope and comfort is also needed by those who care for the sick, especially those who are closely bound in love to them. There should be opportunity for suitable preparation over a period of time for the benefit of the sick themselves and of those who are with them.

The faith community has its own part in this formation: recognition of the unity of the Body, despite the separation in presence and good health.

Note that the priest serves a twofold role: in the name and power of Christ, yet also on behalf of the community.

The rite is explicit in the need for catechetical formation, not only for the sick people themselves, but also for families, friends, and other caregivers and ministers.

Thoughts?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Pastoral Care of the Sick, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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