Hospital Chaplain


My son is in the hospital for a few days. I called the Catholic chaplain on staff to stop by and I thought give him the sacrament of the sick. He just asked me how he was, if he was baptised, gave a really, really short prayer and blessed him with some holy water. I thought the sacrament of the sick was more involved. Could someone explain to me what should occur?:confused:


Anointing of the sick includes the priest laying hands on the sick person and praying, then anointing the forehead and hands with oil.

A couple of questions come to mind. Did you specifically ask (or better, did your son ask) for anointing of the sick? Or did you simply ask the chaplain to come by and see him/pray with him? Do you know that the person who visited was a priest? Often people have the title “hospital chaplain” but are deacons or laypeople. And how old is your son? This sacrament is for those over the age of reason, so it wouldn’t be given to a young child.




God bless your son .

He has not received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick if that is all the priest did .

The priest would have anointed him with oil on the forehead and hands . He would also have laid hands on him as he prayed the prayers of the sacrament .


One has to remember that this sacrament is for those in grave danger of death, not just there for a non-life threatening illness. With that said, the priest could choose to administer the sacrament even though it is not a grave illness; but confession, reconciliation, would be involved. In other words, the sacrament of anointing of the sick involves confession by the recipient and absolution by the priest if the person is conscience and coherent which it seems in your description your son was.

What I would do if I were you is to request your pastor to come by if he is still in the hospital for him to receive the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist. If your son is in for a grave reason, (hopefully not!!!), he would administer all three sacraments. If your son is not there for a grave reason there is no need for the anointing of the sick, only reconciliation and Eucharist.


Anointing of the sick can be administered to those under the age of reason. I would agree with you that most often it is not, but it can be validly be done. My pastor does administer the sacrament for those who are in danger of death, even for small children. There is physical healing in the grace of this sacrament.

Canon Law does point out the requirement of age of reason and also give the pastoral option if there is doubt. I’ll list the pertinent canons;


Can. 1004 §1. The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age.

§2. This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person, having recovered, again becomes gravely ill or if the condition becomes more grave during the same illness.

Can. 1005 This sacrament is to be administered in a case of doubt whether the sick person has attained the use of reason, is dangerously ill, or is dead.

Can. 1006 This sacrament is to be conferred on the sick who at least implicitly requested it when they were in control of their faculties.

Can. 1007 The anointing of the sick is not to be conferred upon those who persevere obstinately in manifest grave sin.


Thanks for that info. I guess I should say that it’s not normally given to children. That would leave some wiggle room. :slight_smile:


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