I’ve been a Catholic for 2 years and I’m embarrassed to ask this dumb question in person, so I’ll impose on you folks. Recently I needed emergency surgery. Apparently my husband called the church but the priest didn’t have time to get there before I was in the OR. When I woke up I was startled to see a priest by my bed. I don’t remember but reportedly I was afraid and thought the surgery hadn’t gone well. The nurse told me everything was fine but that the priest wanted to pray. I vaguely remember the words “plenary indulgence” and the priest touching my forehead. I also remember the nurse muttering to someone after he left about “scaring the poor girl with the last rites.” Was that the annointing of the sick and is that the same as the “last rites”? I thought you had to confess and receive the Eucharist for that. Thanks!
He probably gave you the sacrament of the sick but that involves using the Oil of the Ill. Any evidence of that anointing?
“Last Rites” does involve confession and Viaticum (Communion – Food for the Journey).
I’m not sure about the oil. (I had a morphine pump for three days :D)
Apparently that was the Annointing the sick. This can be given repeatedly, and it represents Gods grace to deal with the illness. Recently even old people receive it. It does not mean that you are slated to die more, than any of us is mortal.
If you call the hospital they should tell you who was the priest in call, and you can contact him for details.
If it was in a Catholic hospital, it might be even documented in your chart.
Relax. I have received the Sacrament of the Sick four times–three times for non life threatening orthopedic surgery (knee x 2, shoulder x 1,) and once during a really bad bout with food poisoning. With the food poisoning incident, I was so sick that I wouldn’t have minded dying at all! In that last case, Father just gave me a small piece of the host, which I left in my mouth till it melted. With surgery, it was a great comfort to me knowing I was going into the OR with a clean conscience and in full communion with the Lord.
The Sacrament of the Sick is not limited to one who is in imminent danger of death, and one of the nursing supervisors where I work tells me that the hospital chaplain encourages Catholic patients, even those with potentially terminal illness, to receive it before they are in imminent danger of dying. The reason–when a patient is fully conscious, they are more able to partake of the graces conferred by the sacrament. Someone who is unconscious and on a ventilator isn’t going to be able to confess, and I don’t even know how a person in that state could even receive Communion, except the way I described with the food poisoning thing.