Healing Mass

I attended a Mass this past Saturday evening that was billed as a “Healing Mass”.

What it is, is a Mass that is followed up with a sort of prayer service. It is a thing from the Charismatic Renewal. The Mass was a bit longer due to the different things that the Charismatic group do but it was a nice reverent Mass if you are into that sort of thing. I enjoy that style of music and, as I said, that Mass was good but not something I would chose for everyday.

Afterwards the priest laid hands on everyone who came forward praying for them. Before this during the Mass and afterwards he spoke about healing. He spoke that healing is there, we should expect it. All we need to do is ask for it. This seems to be the message of healing from the Charismatic movement.

Now down to it. I was disappointed with the whole thing. It was really just a Mass with the priest praying over everyone afterwards. When he came to me he did not ask why I was there, did not ask what my illness is. He just said a couple of words then laid his hands on me and blessed me. Through in a couple of saints in the prayer and moved on. There was another person there doing extended prayers but the wait was too long, as it was I did not get home until 11pm, I arrived at 6:30, Mass started around 7. I had to skip dinner to go so when I left I was starving and had to stop at a drive thru to get something to eat.

There are two problems that I have.

  1. This instance that healing is right there, all you have to do is ask for it and expect it.

So when we do not get it, is it our fault? Are we doing something wrong?

  1. There is an actual Sacrament of Healing. The Anointing of the Sick. Why isn’t that used?

Sorry for the rant but I am feeling a bit down and wondering where I have gone wrong.

For those of you who do not know I was diagnosed with stage iv colorectal cancer with mets/ lungs back in Nov 2009. So it has been about 2 and a half years. Prayers are welcome.

The Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, MD has healing Masses every 3rd and last Sunday of the month. It is also the same Mass that my SFO/OFS fraternity usually attends. The format of the Mass is very similar to the one you describe. A “normal” Mass and anyone that wants the healing is supposed to remain after the Mass. At this location they also have Eucharistic adoration during the healing portion. There is no charismatic portion to this Mass or the healing section.

How the healing happens is a little different. Everyone that wants healing processes to the friars (both ordained and non-ordained) giving the healing and they usually tell some information about their problem. Then they lay hands and say prayers depending on what the issue is.

As for if the healing doesn’t happen right there. That depends on God. He will heal when and if it is his will, when and if he is ready. It doesn’t reflect on the person if there is no visible healing. The “healing” could be emotional. It could be giving more grace in dealing with the problem. It could be related to those that have to assist the person. Only God knows what format the healing may take.

If you have transportation out to Ellicott City I would suggest checking it out. Since it is at noon, you won’t have the late night problems. The Shrine web page is:


As for why the Anointing of the Sick is not used. Sorry can’t answer that one.

I will be praying for you.

God Bless

First, and most importantly, I’ll be praying for you.

Now to offer my thoughts on this question… I guess it may be that you aren’t asking for the right thing or you are expecting God to work on your timeline and not His… Maybe you are in need of far more important spiritual growth or healing and He is allowing this sickness and suffering as a catalyst for the healing that you are really in need of, so He is answering your prayers for healing, trying to heal your soul, but you are looking for a sign in the wrong place…

Maybe, he sees that your faith is strong, that you are not in need of spiritual healing or growth, but that there is someone near you that is wavering in faith, and that if they see you stay faithful despite the suffering, it will draw them back to Him…

Maybe, it’s just not the right time for Him to heal you physically. He has plans for your greater good and the time is not right…

I know I have seen others suffering and staying faithful that have inspired me to deeper faith. I know I have seen how my suffering inspires others to deeper faith too.

Certainly, healing can also be inspiring. But, if the only thing that will inspire you to believe in God is miracles or immediate, obvious benefits or rewards, our faith starts to be built upon selfish purposes: what is in it for me? Certainly, eternal life in Him can be a selfish motive. But, I guess that is why He does allow suffering as a way to get us to go beyond the selfish motives and truly surrender and love Him purely for the reason that He is deserving of our love and praise…

And don’t get me wrong… Intellectually I can wrap my head around these ideas. In practice, some days are a serious struggle… I pray for that time when every day I will carry my cross as gracefully and faithfully as Christ carried His…

I didn’t know Byz. I’ll certainly pray.

One of the priests at my parish has a gift for healing. He has relieved the suffering of several people - I won’t go into details but suffice to say that he has it. He does a healing Mass quarterly but it always includes the sacrament.


Don’t get me wrong. I know that God answers prayers and that sometimes the answer is different than what we want.

What I have been getting from the Charismatic types is that if we ask for it and expect it, that is a healing, we will get it. They seem to stress this.

So my question to them is if I am not getting it then what am I doing wrong.

I do not think I am doing anything wrong but with what they are saying I must be.

This also plays into the fact that I believe I am starting to slip into depression with my chronic illness. This is a discussion I will have with my doctor at my next visit.

I don’t know. I don’t pretent to know anything about Charismatics.

My father went into depression when my daughter had leukemia. Almost lost his business. Do bring it up with your doctor.


Hey Brother David,

I’ve been involved in the Charismatic community since '97, including going to several healing Masses myself, so I can answer a few of these comments/concerns. I’ve seen people have the attitude you describe:

In some cases, people actually think this. In most cases though, I think they stress this because they want people to have faith in God’s healing. Too often Charismatic Catholics get lectured by both secular folks and even other Catholics, so some over compensate by stressing “you can be healed! Seriously, this does happen!”. And yes, it does happen, but not for everyone.

Some people do have the attitude “if you pray enough it’ll get better!”, but that’s like doing a novena; just because you do it doesn’t mean God’s going to honor your request. Sadly, even the most well intentioned folks don’t see this all the time.

Regarding the Sacrament of Healing, not everyone who goes to a healing Mass needs the Sacrament. I sure as hell need physical healing, but I’m merely a cripple; you have stage four cancer. Your need for the Sacrament trumps mine. But they can’t exactly offer it en masse to everyone there (can they…?)

I can see why the length of praying with the priest would be underwhelming.

If you want to have a chat about things (this stuff or just in general), send me a message. I have a soft spot in my heart for Carmelites, so please let me know if I can help in any way. Other than prayers of course, you’re getting those regardless.

God bless,

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