Annointing of the sick right for me?


I am 38 and have had pneumonia 19 times in my life. I haven’t had pneumonia in years until this year. I was sick and had an appointment to see my doctor about my high blood pressure. It was just a simple pressure check and medication refill visit. He took a listen to my lungs and was very concerned. In the end, he said I had pneumonia and gave me antibiotics and a new inhaler. I spent New Years Eve on the couch with my husband, hugging a box of tissues and that inhaler. I have improved some, finished the antibiotics as directed, and am still very congested, tired all the time, and just icky.

I was at an RCIA day retreat Saturday and the Sister who instructs us was also very concerned about my health. She suggested I might want to arrange to have our priest perform the Anointing of the Sick. I think it might be a good idea, couldn’t hurt to ask God for some special help, but I wonder if I should do it. I mean, I don’t want to have the ritual if I don’t need to and I have always associated it with people who are very ill and possibly dying.

What do you think? Am I a good candidate for the Anointing?


If you are Catholic, yes, you can certainly have the sacrament of anointing. You don’t have to be in immediate danger of death. I would ask the priest about this.


Well, I am not a Catholic yet. I am in RCIA and became a Candidate this summer. To make a long story short, I am awaiting an annulment and to have my marriage convalidated so that I can be fully received into the Church. It was my understanding that I could not receive Sacraments until my marriage situation was straightened out. Which I should have mentioned in my first post. It’s part of my concerns.

I would ask our priest, but he is super busy at the moment. He just came back from his yearly retreat and is very busy trying to catch up with business he was not there to handle, plus all of the others who also need to speak with him for whatever reasons. I didn’t want to bother Father with this unless I was reasonably assured I should.


Insofar as health is concerned, you should qualify. Even people who are of advanced age or are going to undergo an operation, also qualify.

What would concern me more is that you’re not fully Catholic, yet. That’s what would probably be more an obstacle to receiving the sacraments. Can you just call the rectory, explain your situation, and ask if you qualify?

Someone there who isn’t a priest still might know the requirements enough to answer that question.


don’t worry about it, if the sister at the retreat recommended it for you, then arrange with the priest to do so and have peace about it. Annoiting of the sick is not just for those near death or “seriously” ill. It is for situations like your, chronic infections, people going for surgery, chronic illnesses, facing major medical tests etc. I’ve heard priests in homilies suggest that people shouldn’t wait till near death but have the sacrament much sooner in an illness. We had our one son who has epilepsy annoited. Your idea about the association with “near death” is a misconception out there.


Since she is becoming Catholic and the Sister recommended it, I think she would qualify. Priests can annoint non-Catholics in certain situations such as there wasn’t a minister from their respective faith community available, immenant death or as in her case, someone entering the Church but is in need of healing.


Those who are not baptized may not receive Annointing of the Sick. There are certain conditions that must be met for other validly baptised Christians to receive this sacrament.


She is in RCIA, a religious Sister recommeded she approach the priest. You didn’t site your source for your idea and she should ultimately ask the priest anyway. I am sure that the priest would know if she “qualifies”.


Speak to your priest and let him know the Sister recommended it. When it comes to illness we can’t always be looking at the rules but look at a situation from a pastor’s heart. Sometimes rules are meant to act as guidelines but they cannot replace the pastoral needs of the person in need.

In this case, our sister is suffering from her 19th episode of pneumonia. This is very serious illness and it should not be taken lightly. Chances are, since he is so busy, he may ask her to remain after mass for a few minutes while he administers it.

Let’s leave it in the priest’s hands and see what he decides.

Please keep us posted regarding what happens. I’m curious to learn if he follows the Sister’s recommendation.

I hope you are feeling better soon.



Can. 842 §1. A person who has not received baptism cannot be admitted validly to the other sacraments.

Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and ⇒ can. 861, §2.
§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-
Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.
§3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.
§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.
§5. For the cases mentioned in §§2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.


have you ever had Pneumonia? I’ve unfortunately had it twice and Op has had it 19 times.
the more one has pneumonia, the weaker the lungs can become and the easier it is get it again. Whenever I have a cold more than a week, I end up at the Dr.s I think I is too easy from someone to quote cannon law and wage their finger and say no. There is pastoral care and compassion involved as well. Pneumonia is life threatening, people end up in the hospital all the time. I don’t think the Sister would have suggested it if she felt the priest wouldn’t have a heart for someone joining the Church. I am going to end this with suggesting to read I Corinthians 13 which is the chapter on love. Without love, we are just banning cymbals making noise which is what I am seeing in this quote. When the Pope on ash Wednesday went to a prison to wash prisoners feet, he washed everyone’s which included Muslims and non-Catholics. He ministered to everyone there. That is what Jesus did too and didn’t give some kind to litmus test to extend healing to others. Even the Phoenician women had her son delivered from a demon when she persisted.


Not all of us in RCIA at the moment are “unbaptized” – of the eleven people in the group I’m in only two will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. All of the rest of us are “candidates” – converting from Protestant churches.

Now I don’t know the OP’s status, but if she is a candidate, then I see no harm in asking the priest.


No, but you do need to be in danger of death. I went to the emergency because I thought I wasn having a heart attack. Once there, it was determined I wasn’t having a heart attack, but my health was very very poor and my tests were coming back positive for various serious things. I thought about calling my priest, since the hospital I was at wasn’t too far from our parish. I hesitated and didn’t call, but when I asked about if I would have qualified, he said that I must be in danger of death. If it wasn’t certain, then I should call, but it isn’t for people who are just really sick.


That’s not what they taught us in RCIA – my group was told that "if you are in need of healing, you qualify for “Anointing of the SICK” – in the past it was called “Extreme Unction” and it was only used if you were in danger of dying. Vatican II changed that.

Now, I’d expect that we’re talking serious illness or injury here, but you don’t have to be on Death’s doorstep to be eligible for the sacrament. Many people who are going to have major surgery have the sacrament the day before they go to the hospital.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions that “over the centuries the Annointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death.” - (#1512) I can remember that many years ago (I’m old :D) people would refuse to have the priest called in for the sacrament because they thought that meant they were goners for sure. And with good reason because that’s the only time they ever heard of the priest being called in.

The CCC does go on to say "the Anointing of the Sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.” - #1514


Yes, I have been hospitalized with pneumonia!

It could be possible if the priest first baptized the sick person.


Thank you for all of your replies. I can’t respond to each of you individually, but i thought I’d clear up a couple points.

I am a baptized Christian. I was baptized Lutheran as an infant and our priest has a copy of the certificate. Because Lutherans use the trinitarian formula, it is a valid baptism. I am in RCIA to convert and stuck there until the annulment is granted and I can move forward to Confirmation.

Still feeling icky. Congested, sore, tired, and I actually got a bit dizzy cleaning today. My husband is a truck driver and the company he works for does not offer health insurance yet, so we pay out of pocket. My doc said he would have hospitalized me New Years Eve when I went in, but he knows we can’t afford the bill so he let me go home. I go in for another check in a little over a week. I’ve been hydrating, taking/took my meds as directed, and I took it easy for a week before the kids went back to school (I drive them) and the house started to scare me. Now I’m back to my normal routine. It’s a sheer act of will to do the 2nd half of what I need to do in a day. I wish this bout would end already!

I am going to send Sister A an email and see what Father S has to say. Hopefully, I will be able to receive the rite and God will see fit to clear my lungs up a bit. Plus, I have high blood pressure that I take medication for and some difficulties with my heart. Due to family history, I am at high risk for heart attack and stroke. My mom died at 44 due to congestive heart and lung failure and she’d had a couple strokes before that. Being 38 and not in the best shape health wise, I figure it couldn’t hurt to ask God for a bit of extra help if He’s willing.


It won’t hurt to try. You will certainly get his prayers and blessing. Welcome and may God bless you abundantly.


A priest in a previous parish we belonged to likewise served a the Catholic Chaplain for the nearby hospital. He repeatedly in the bulletin as well as his homilies spoke about the sacrament of anointing of the sick. I appreciated his clarifications in this matter because he was doing great catechesis. What I learned from him is that most Catholic’s misunderstand this sacrament and seem to only want it either very late in a serious life threatening illness or near the point of death. However, it is at the beginning of any illness, surgery etc when a Catholic should ask for this sacrament. There simply are not enough priests to go around at the last minute to anoint someone before they die then get mad at the Church because either they felt it didn’t work or a priest was not available. One should lets say in the beginning of a cancer diagnosis ask for this sacrament, not at the end of chemo and in hospice and death. I hope this helps.


We are all praying for you, for healing as well as a completion of your annulment. God Bless.

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