One of the purposes of a visit from a chaplain or a pastoral volunteer is to
acquaint you with the sacramental services that can be provided for you during
your hospital stay.
One of the great joys of Catholic patients in a Catholic hospital is the privilege
of being able to receive Holy Communion. Our Lord in the Eucharist is the Divine
Physician. He can heal one’s whole person.
Communion is normally distributed to patients in their rooms four times a week
(Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday). Communion can be made available daily,
if you desire. Just ask your nurse or call us from your bedside phone.
Arrangements can be made to have a hospital priest hear a patient’s confession.
Just ask your nurse or call us from your bedside phone.
Anointing of the Sick
Formerly called Extreme Unction or “Last Rites,” this sacrament
is now called the Anointing of the Sick. It is a prayer for healing, a living
sign of the place of suffering in the mystery of salvation. Since the reception
of this sacrament also includes a full and complete absolution from all sins
and formerly could only be received once during a person’s lifetime, this
sacrament was frequently put off until the near approach of death.
Now, however, this sacrament may be received once during any serious illness.
Since it is a sacrament of healing, it is highly encouraged to be given at the
onset of illness, while the recipient is hopefully conscious and able to join
as fully as possible in the meaning of the sacrament. Not only does the Church
desire that the sick person be able to participate as fully and responsibly
as possible, but also that it be celebrated in the company of family, friends
and other members of the Christian community. For these reasons, the Church
requests that the sacrament be celebrated at the beginning of a serious illness,
rather than at its end. The sacrament can be received again later on in life
if the patient undergoes another serious illness.
In keeping with the sacrament’s intent, patients and their families should
keep in mind:
- The Anointing of the Sick is for all adult Christians
who are seriously ill: people who have contracted a serious illness (one that
might lead to death); those who have been ill for a long time; and those who
are elderly and are beginning to fail.
- Ideally, the sick person should be the one to request
the anointing. Family members also can make the request if they can honestly
relay the patient’s wishes. The sacrament should not be “sneaked in” at the
request of the family if they are reasonably certain the patient would not
request it if she or he were conscious.
- Preferably, the anointing should be celebrated at the
beginning of a serious illness, with family and friends present when the sick
person is conscious. The anointing is not to be done after death has occurred.
The teaching of the Church is that Anointing of the Sick is for the living.
- If you have further questions regarding the sacrament or its meaning, or
if you want to receive the anointing, you can talk to the chaplain in your
area, or call Pastoral Care Services at 734-712-3800.
Prayers for the Dying
The Catholic Church also offers specific prayers and services for those who
are dying. The sacrament for the dying is officially called Viaticum, the last
Eucharist or food for the journey. The Church also has prayers of commendation
for the dying and for those who have died. While a priest is necessary for the
Anointing of the Sick, any chaplain may lead the rites for the dying and the
In the Catholic Church, the sacrament of Baptism is not only the celebration
of the initiation into the Church, but also an initiation into a local Christian
community. Therefore, Baptism, except in emergency situations, is to be administered
in your local parish. Chaplains will assist in any emergency situation, or will
help you contact your local parish priest.