PCS 57-61: Visiting the Sick

The Church considers the visit to the sick, or a significant part of it, to be liturgical. As such, when there is no sacrament to be celebrated, the minister, the sick person, and the family and friends will celebrate according to this outline:

Reading (one or more, depending on circumstances)

Response (usually silence followed by a psalm, or possibly a brief “explanation” of the reading)

The Lord’s Prayer prayed by all

A Concluding Prayer led by the minister

A Blessing may be used, and the rite indicates a lay minister may use a particular formula.


On PCS 58, Response, the rite is described:

A brief period of silence may be observed after the reading of the-word of God. An appropriate psalm from Part III or one of the following psalms may be used …

Ambiguously worded. Do they mean each may be observed or either? My liturgical sense is both, given the pastoral need of the sick person is addressed.

One of the blessings given in PCS 61:

All praise and glory is yours, Lord our God,

for you have called us to serve you in love.

Bless N.

so that he/she may bear this illness

in union with your Son’s obedient suffering.

Restore him/her to health, and lead him/her to glory.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. W. Amen.


Another aspect of the final blessing is how a non-ordained minister handles the conclusion of the visit. A priest may say a formal blessing, then lay hands. The ritual specifies this for the lay person:

A minister who is not a priest or deacon invokes God’s blessing and makes the sign of the cross on himself or herself, while saying:

May the. Lord bless us,

protect us from all evil,

and bring us to everlasting life. W. Amen.

The minister may then trace the sign of the cross on the sick person’s. forehead.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Pastoral Care of the Sick, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s