501.1 Oil of the Sick:

The sacrament is to be celebrated with the oil of the sick blessed by the bishop at the Chrism Mass or, in cases of necessity, with oil blessed by the priest during the celebration of the sacrament.  (Intro. 21-22)


The matter proper for the sacrament is olive oil, or according to circumstances other plant oil. (Intro to the Rite of Anointing and Pastoral Care of the Sick, #20)

501.2 Integral Aspects of the Celebration:

Even in cases of urgency, the minister should make clear the three distinct and integral aspects to the celebration of this sacrament: the prayer of faith, the laying on of hands, and the anointing with oil. (Intro. 104-107)


A) The Prayer of faith: it is the community, represented by the priest, family, and all present, who makes a prayer of faith.  If possible, the sick person should join in the prayer.

B) The laying on of hands has several meanings: it signifies that the sick person is the object of Christ’s prayer of faith, it is a sign of blessing, and it is also an invocation for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

501.3 Communal Celebration of the Sacrament:

Parishes and health care institutions are encouraged to offer a communal celebra­tion of the sacrament of the anointing of the sick at appropriate times during the year.  The communal anointing of the sick can be celebrated for large numbers of sick people who have been suitably prepared and are properly disposed, according to the guidelines given in the Introduction to the Ritual of the Anointing of the Sick (hereafter Intro 108-110) and the prescripts of the Archbishop. (c. 1002, Intro 108-110)


A) Communal celebrations of Anointing held in church are a good witness to the whole community. These liturgical celebrations also offer an opportunity for the sick to experience support from the parish at large, in addition to their caregivers. They should be scheduled well in advance and include special attention to hospitality. Your parish may also want to offer transportation for those who need it.

B) Certain days in the liturgical calendar commend themselves as occasions to further the healing ministry of the Church. The World Day of Prayer for the Sick, February 11 (optional memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes), the patronal feast of the parish or diocese, or saints known to have healed the sick (for example, Saint Peregrine, patron saint of cancer patients), may be good occasions to celebrate the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick during Mass.

C) When the communal celebration of the Anointing of the Sick takes place within Mass, it is important that the priest ensures that the Sacrament of Penance is available before Mass, for those to be anointed, who also wish to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

D) Additionally, when the communal celebration takes place during Mass, it is essential to offer a brief catechesis concerning the Sacrament of the Anointing, which includes an explanation of who receives the Sacrament.

501.4 Opportunities for Catechesis:

Opportunities for catechesis, private and communal, need to be available in order to form the faithful, so that when the time comes, they can receive the sacrament of anointing with right disposition and devotion. (Pastoral Care for the Sick no. 13)


The catechesis should include: the mystery of suffering, union of the suffering with the suffering of Christ, the celebration, minister, recipient, and effects of the sacrament.

(CCC 1514-1525)