If a family member is seriously ill, frail, struggling with a chronic illness, about to undergo an operation, or in danger of death, ask your pastor (or another priest) to celebrate the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick with them, being sure to include your children in the liturgy. Children who have reached the age of reason may also receive the sacrament, if doing so would comfort them in a time of serious illness.
Whenever a family member has a more run-of-the-mill illness, be sure to have the family pray for them; see Pray for the Sick for ideas.
Talking Points: What is the Sacrament of Anointing?
The Sacrament of Anointing is one of the sacraments of healing. Once popularly known as “Last Rites,” the Sacrament of Anointing is rooted in Jesus’ healing ministry, the charge to his apostles to anoint the sick with oil (Mark 6:13), and the practice of the early Church: “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven” (James 6:14-15). Because the priest acts “in the person of Christ” when administering the sacrament, those receiving the Sacrament of Anointing experience the healing touch of Jesus Christ.