Congratulations to the parents of Thea & Carissa Harris and to the parents of Leo Seminitore, all of whom are being baptized this weekend. It’s always a joy to bring children into a relationship with Christ and the Church. May the parents be blessed too as they raise these children in the practice of the Faith.
From time to time I like to review the Church’s under- standing of the Sacrament of Anointing so that you and/or your loved ones can take full advantage of this gift of Christ to us. So often we do not hear from someone until their loved one is near death. This likely comes from an older under- standing of what was called “Extreme Unction” which is when a priest was called to anoint a Catholic when they were near death. In recent years, the Church began to refer to this Sacrament as the Anointing of the Sick in order to emphasize that it is meant to be offered to someone as soon as they ex- perience a serious illness, instead of waiting until a person’s illness is so far advanced that death may be imminent. Since this “Extreme Unction” (the word “unction” means to anoint) was given so close to death, it also became known as the “Last Rites” for indeed the anointing included final prayers of the Church for the one who was dying. So these two things were separated when the Church dropped the term “Extreme Unction” and so intended the Anointing of the Sick (a sacrament) for someone who is ill and the Last Rites (official prayers of the Church) for someone who is dying. Though someone can receive both the Anointing and the Last Rites at the same time, the preference is to separate these so that the Church may pray for the healing of a person who is ill and can offer final prayers for someone who is in the dying process. Therefore, we would encourage you to contact us for the Sacrament of the Sick when you first learn of someone’s serious illness so that we can accompany them with our prayers & support as we pray for their healing. Of course we also wish to pray for someone who is dying by giving them the last rites, but we hope to offer them our support long before that process begins, if possible. If you’re ever unsure what you should ask for or when, please don’t hesitate to call me or see me in church & ask. We want to reach out to those who are sick and to those who are dying so that we can offer to them the grace that comes from Christ through the Church.
I began watching a new show called “The Kids are Alright” which is about a Catholic family (of 8 boys) grow- ing up in the 1960’s. In one scene the children are hurriedly eating breakfast on a Sunday morning when the mother says “One hour until Communion...spit out whatever you haven’t swallowed.” That really made me LOL. If you lived in the 60’s, you’d get that “one hour fast before Communion” ref- erence. It’s good that we can laugh at ourselves.