Anointing of the Sick/Funeral/Burial

My father is dying of brain cancer. He is a baptized, but not practicing, catholic. He wants to be buried with his father, in the catholic cemetery in the town where he grew up. In order to have a catholic funeral service and burial, is it required that he receive the anointing of the sick? We’re having a hard time approaching our mother about this. A lot of people feel that when you receive the anointing, that means you’re going to die.

Dear Gregor,

One would expect that a Catholic would have received the Anointing of the Sick before dying. It absolves all sin and all temporal punishment due to sin. You tell your mother that the anointing can also heal the person of his or her physical afflictions if God so chooses. It is ordinarily called the “Sacrament of the Sick”. Most often when I administer this sacrament to people, their health improves! Write again if you need more information on this.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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