PCS 111-114: Anointing Outside of Mass, Introduction

The next twenty sections of Pastoral Care of the Sick are devoted to anointing outside of Mass. Fittingly enough, we have another introduction, four sections in which we are prepared for the sixteen ritual sections that follow.

The rite outside of Mass is designed for the usual occurrence in a home or hospital:

111. The rite which follows provides for the celebration of the sacrament of anointing outside Mass. This celebration takes place in the home, in a hospital or institution, or in church. Appropriate vestments should be worn by the priest.

There is a presumption that the priest has a pastoral relationship with the sick person and with his or her loved ones. This relationship informs the planning of the anointing liturgy, especially in the shared preparation of the liturgy. The understanding is that “doing the red, saying the black” isn’t enough for a minister to the sick, that the involvement of the recipient of anointing and her or his family are part of the process of healing, sacramentality, and ministry.


112. The priest should inquire beforehand about the physical and spiritual condition of the sick person, and he should become acquainted with the family, friends, and others who may be present. If possible, he should involve them in the preparation for the celebration, for example, in the choice of the readings and prayers, and he should explain to them the sig­nificance of the sacrament. Since the liturgical texts appear in the singu­lar, they must be adapted in gender and number for a celebration in which two or more people are anointed.

As we’ve read earlier, penance should be celebrated before the anointing liturgy, but in one of the very few nods to pastoral realities and penance, it may be celebrated in concert with another sacrament if true necessity is present:


113. If the sick person wishes to celebrate the sacrament of penance, it is preferable that the priest make himself available for this during a previous visit. If it is necessary for the sick person to confess during the celebra­tion of the sacrament of anointing, this takes the place of the penitential rite.

The rite of Communion comes after anointing, if it is celebrated:


114. If communion is to be given during the celebration, this occurs after the liturgy of anointing.

In the next posts, we’ll look at the anointing liturgy as celebrated outside of Mass. Meanwhile, any thoughts on these introductory sections?

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.

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