This is more of a warning to everyone.
Last week, we received word that a friend of the family was dying (cancer of the esophagus) and that his time was close because the local parish priest had gone to give him last rites.
My BIL, who is a priest, is visiting this week, and he offered to visit the dying man (their family and his family have known each other for years). So he arrived at their house, just for a pastoral visit, without a stole, missal or anointing oils, since we were told he had already received last rites.
The man was lucid enough to recognize my BIL and my husband (who accompanied him) and my BIL asked the man’s wife about his last rites. She said Father “Joe” had come and given him an apostolic blessing, but no anointing and no confession, saying “it wasn’t necessary”!
My BIL gently told her he did not agree that confession was “not necessary” and offered to hear her husband’s confession. The man agreed and he was able to receive absolution and my BIL offered to get hold of chrism so he could come back and anoint him. He then prayed the rosary with the family and gave the man a blessing. The family seemed very much at peace after that, and even asked my BIL that, if he was still here when the man passed, if HE would offer the funeral Mass.
We are awaiting word on this man’s condition (his youngest daughter told my BIL last night that they didn’t think he was going to hold out until he got there) at any minute. I just want to encourage you that should you find yourselves or a loved one in their final hours, please INSIST on confession and anointing while you still can! Don’t let the priest tell you it isn’t necessary! It’s his job to prepare you for your final journey, to help your soul be ready.
I thank God that my BIL was able to get there in time and I pray that all priests take their duty to the dying as seriously as he does.