PCS 247-258: Anointing, Viaticum, Peace

The rest of the continuous rite treats anointing, then viaticum. We’ve covered a lot of this territory before, and the rite itself refers back to previous rituals almost exclusively.

PCS 247-250 covers sacramental anointing. The first section instructs the priest to lay hands on the sick person in silence. The prayer over the oil is next, either a thanksgiving over blessed oil (see PCS 123) or the priest may bless the oil he has brought (see PCS 21). The anointing takes place as described in PCS 124. There is a brief prayer after anointing, which is to be omitted if viaticum takes place immediately.

The following four sections (251-254) lay out the brief viaticum liturgy. The Lord’s Prayer is prayed by all present. Loved ones may receive communion, as we read:

252. The sick person and all present may receive communion under both kinds. When the priest gives communion to the sick person, the form for viaticum is used, as described in (PCS) 193.

The priest cleanses the vessel, then may facilitate a period of silence before leading the concluding prayer (PCS 209 option A or C).

PCS 255-258 gives the concluding rites. The priest blesses all present. He also has the option of blessing the sick person silently with any of the Blessed Sacrament that remains. The text referenced for the former blessing is PCS 91, option A or C. PCS 256 provides for an optional sign of peace–the same location as we’ve seen before. It employs the peace as a gesture of leave-taking rather than as a reconciliation before approaching the altar.

The continuous rite concludes with these instructions:

257. If the person recovers somewhat, the priest or other minister may continue to give further pastoral care, bringing viaticum frequently, and using other prayers and blessings from the rite of visiting the sick.

258. When death has occurred, prayers may be offered for the dead person and for the family and friends. These are given (in PCS 221-222). This may be done in any suitable place, including a hospital chapel or prayer room. 

PCS 221 contains prayers for the dead. Do clergy usually offer these prayers in the presence of the deceased’s body? It probably depends on the circumstances, and the timing in the hospital, home, or hospice facility. In the next few posts,we’ll look at the “Rite for Emergencies.” Meanwhile, any comments?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, 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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