PCS 117-118: Instruction and Mercy

After the ritual greeting (PCS 115) and the optional sprinkling rite (116), the priest quotes the letter of James in an “instruction” to the sick and those present:

My dear friends, we are gathered here in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ who is present among us. As the gospels relate, the sick came to him for healing; moreover, he loves us so much that he died for our sake. Through the apostle James, he has commanded us: “Are there any sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the Church, and let the priests pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick persons, and the Lord will raise them up; and if they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them.”

Let us therefore commend our sick brother/sister N. to the grace and power of Christ, that he may save him/her and raise him/her up.


I don’t know that a mini-homily is really necessary here. The rite tries to impress upon pastoral ministers the value of sacramental catechesis in advance of the rite. If there was no catechesis, something like this would work. The rite suggests “these or similar words” be used. That does give the discerning priest the leeway to say what is needed.

After the instruction, either the sacrament of penance is celebrated or the penitential rite (PCS 118). The form is as you know at Mass: a brief introduction, then silence, then an option of the Confiteor or Lord Have Mercy.

Option C:

By your paschal mystery you have won for us salvation: Lord have mercy.

You renew among us now the wonders of your passion: Christ have mercy.

When we receive your body, you share with us your paschal sacrifice: Lord have mercy.

These invocations don’t appear in the Sacramentary, and reflect the Church’s understanding of the paschal character of this sacrament.

Any thoughts? You’ve all been rather silent on Pastoral Care of the Sick commentary.

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.

4 Responses to PCS 117-118: Instruction and Mercy

  1. Liam says:

    Perhaps the reason for the silence is that the experience of this sacrament is very different from that of other sacraments – for the laity, the focus tends to be on the illness, and so the sacrament is not engaged they way others are. I don’t think it’s a situation enough laity have been in repeatedly (at least the liturgical celebration of the sacrament) to have formed deep impressions of what works best (and what doesn’t) in the ritual.

    Just my speculation, FWIW…

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  2. FrMichael says:

    I like the instruction immensely and almost always use it when anointing– omitting only when anointing “frequent fliers” of this sacrament. Not only is it short and to the point about what the sacrament is, but the instruction gives its Biblical and dogmatic basis and has an apologetic dimension to it when anointing in the presence of non-Catholic Christians.


  3. Pingback: PCS 135-136: Anointing Mass, Introductory Rites « Catholic Sensibility

  4. Pingback: PCS 241-243: Penitential Options « Catholic Sensibility

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