Anointing at 1st Saturday Mass

What are the rules about receiving the Sacrament of the Sick? At the 1st Saturday Mass, all but a couple of us get up to be anointed. Our Deacon said that this Sacrament is only for those who are seriously ill or are perhaps anticipating a surgery.
The priest told someone that the general public can partake of this Sacrament because it is ‘in a sense’ a renewal. What?

Certainly the rubrics I’ve seen say that someone must be seriously ill to receive this sacrament (or as you say, preparing for surgery). I was upset to see a bunch of kids go up to receive it when it was offered in our parish – one young woman who didn’t want to go up was berated into doing so by her mother.

I ended up being the only person who didn’t present herself for the anointing – but for the life of me I couldn’t think of any reason why I should receive that sacrament as I’m a healthy, active woman. Middle age is not a serious illness. :wink:

I think these “blanket invitations” to the Anointing of the Sick are an abuse.

I have been in this situation too. I was (almost?) the only one to stay in my pew when our pastor invited those who wished to come forward for the Anointing of the Sick. Afterward a woman tried to argue with me that I should have received it. I mentioned it to my pastor afterward, and he agreed that he needed to do a little catechesis next time so people would know whether it was appropriate for them to approach this Sacrament.

This Sacrament is certainly not for the “general public.” Only the seriously ill or those who are in some danger (like about to undergo surgery) can licitly receive this sacrament. Offering a general invitation for anyone to come forward to be anointed is a serious abuse.

The thing that usually isn’t very clear is that in order to receive any benefit from the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. A person must be in a state of Grace, so it should be recomended to receive the Sacrament of Reconcilistion that Saturday morning or afternoon.

Personally, I think an open anointing is a good idea: there’s so many people with so many medical issues who can benefit from the grace of this Sacrament, and sometimes it’s the best consolation you can get, especially if you have moderate mental health issues as I do. Years ago, when I was two and about to undergo eye surgery, my mom wanted to have me Anointed, but I was considered much too young for it. I still have a lot of medical issues – bad allergies, depression with occasional bouts of suicidal thoughts, and Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of autism) – so recently at Mass, when the priest invited the sick to receive the Anointing afterward, I almost got up to receive it, but I hesitated. My mom looked at me and gave me a gentle nudge toward the altar, so I got up to receive it…

And I’m glad I listened to that nudge; I swear sometimes Our Lady speaks to me through my mom: after the Anointing, I felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and the churning sensation in my head which sometimes comes when I’m overstimulated just went away leaving behind the profoundest feeling of peace which lasted for several days. I’m tearing up just posting about it.

I agree, it’s a sacrament that can be easily abused (so can any of the others): getting the Anointing for a stubbed toe or a nicked finger would be absurd, but I wouldn’t pry into why a person went up to receive the Anointing.

It’s not a matter of “prying.” The priest who administers the Sacrament (or any other for that matter) has an obligation to ensure that he administers it only to those who are truly in need and truly eligible to receive it. An open invitation makes such discernment outright impossible. Open invitations also dilute the understanding of the Sacrament, and cause considerable harm in that the faithful take this important Sacrament much too lightly and casually. We saw that happen with the Sacrament of Confession with the abuse of general absolution–so there is a very real precedent to show us the inherent dangers of open invitations for Unction.

My operating phrase was “I wouldn’t pry”: the priest has the authorization to look into things like this because he’s a priest, I don’t have that authorization and it isn’t my place to scrutinize someone else approaching the sacrament.

But it is the priest’s responsibility. As I said, an open invitation for anyone to come forth to be anointed makes the exercise of that responsibility all but impossible, unless one is speaking of a small parish where the priest knows everyone, or a small gathering where the priest likewise knows everyone. But even there, there is the danger that someone who should not be receiving the Sacrament comes forth, and the priest has to refuse to administer it (as he should), and this causes embarrasment and confusion.

The Sacrament of Unction simply is not something to be administered indiscriminately, nor is the criteria for receiving it something to be taken lightly.

These open invitations cause harm to the integrity of the Sacrament. There’s simply no excuse for doing this.

My home parish has the Anointing every Saturday and every Saturday the priest invites those sick you have not been anointed for at least a month and every week the same 8 people go up, some of them for years. I think the new pastor needs to explain to everyone who should receive and who should not. Perhaps it is the invitation at mass. In my work parish we have it once a month but have it in the chapel following Mass. We usually see differnet people and they often let the preist know why they want to receive it, although he doesn’t ask. Usually it is only about 3 or 4 people.

Many people I have talked with believe that they can used the two Masses celebrated each year (one around Lent and one around Advent) where the Anointing of the Sick is celebrated in place of Confession. Because the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick “forgives sins” but they have never been told the conditionas necessary for this effect.

Just like those who attended the General absolution, needed to also go to individual Confession ASAP after.

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