When did they do the anointing of the sick?

My father is currently in the hospital 120 miles away from home. We approached the hospital Chaplin and requested to have a priest visit my father prior to his having a major surgery. Somehow the message got lost, and again we contacted the Chaplin to have a priest visit my father. Since the message got lost, the Priest did not visit before the surgery, fortunately Dad made it through the surgery (had to take him back a second time though) and we contacted the Chaplin again to help us get a Priest to perform the Anointing of the Sick. We still never saw a Priest and we were present in Dad’s room all of Tuesday from about 7:30 am until 10:00 pm. Mom was present in Dad’s room from about 8:00 am until Dad coded at 10:00 am and we were all present at the hospital from about 12:30 pm until 10:30 pm on Wednesday. Finally on Friday, I caught a Deacon in the waiting room for the ICU and asked him how to contact a Priest as my Dad still wasn’t doing real well - and I was really anxious for him to have the Anointing of the Sick. The Deacon did a Blessing of the Sick, and told me he would check with the “on-call” Priest to have the sacrament performed. The Deacon later called and said that he had contacted the Priests at both churches in town, and was told that Dad had received the Anointing on Wednesday. I don’t want to doubt the truth of this but when did the Priest do this that none of our family members were present of saw the Priest? How do I verify that my Dad actually got the Anointing without offending the Priest? My husband says if the Priest says he did it, then let it go. I don’t want my Dad to take a turn for the worse, thinking he has received the Anointing of the Sick - if he has not. I also don’t want to call and have the last rites done and have my dad think he is dying, but that seems to be my only option, as the Priest won’t perform the Anointing of the Sick because they say it has already been done.

I doubt there is anyway to verify it. I’m sorry but I thought last rites was an Annointing of the Sick. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

It’s quite possible that a priest entered the room and did the annointing when none of the family were there. It does sound as though they were present a lot but not through the entire time. And annointing doesn’t take long. The sacrament can be done in a minute or two, and for a patient in very bad condition it likely would not be stretched out with the full prayer ritual.

But there is nothing to prevent him from being annointed again if his condition worsens. Annointing is not limited to one time.

I had the same thing happen with my dad.

I had told the pastoral worker that I wanted to be there when they anointed him but a few days later when I got in touch with the priest to start planning the funeral that I figured wasn’t far off he told me that he’d anointed Dad a few days before. Nobody had told me.

When I was in nursing we were taught to chart these things (anointings, baptisms, etc) and I’ve told my pastors to mention it to the staff when they administer sacraments. This after a baby was rebaptized because the parents weren’t aware (or handn’t understood what Fr. said) and when the baby was medevaced to the children’s hospital they ‘rebaptized’ him there. This would have been avoided if Fr. had just mentioned it to the staff.

Thanks for all the support. I have had others tell me the priest probably came during the night/early morning, but I just couldn’t comprehend that as like I said we were all present for the majority of the day - in a waiting room right beside the elevators & stairs the only time we left was to eat dinner and when we got back they still wouldn’t let us in to the ICU yet, I didn’t know if they would have let the Fr. in at that point or not. You would think with 12 - 15 of us there, one of us would have noticed the oil on his hands or forehead. I guess I’m just too much of a control freak/worrier that if I didn’t see it, it didn’t happen…

Thanks again

I am involved with hospital ministry as an EMHC and I can tell you that visiting hours and other similar policies related to the ICUs don’t apply to EMHCs at the hospital I go to. So maybe the priest was allowed in when you weren’t.

As others have said, you can always call a priest to do it again, there is no limit to the number of times a person may receive the sacrament.

A few points:

  1. If the priest himself said that he did the Anointing, then he did. A priest wouldn’t say that he did if he in fact did not–that’s too serious a matter. If the priest is saying that he won’t repeat the Sacrament, then he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do.

  2. Anointing is only repeated if the patient’s condition seriously worsens or after a prolonged time. The Sacrament may not be repeated otherwise. It would not be appropriate to repeat the Sacrament because no family members were there the first time. Calling another priest to repeat the Sacrament would NOT be the right thing to do.

  3. Anointing is a part of the Last Rites, but may be done at other times as well if the circumstances call for it. Last Rites always includes Anointing, but Anointing does not necessarily mean Last Rites were done.

  4. Depending on the hospital policy and staff, it is certainly possible for a priest to be granted access to patients outside of the usual hours, or to a “restricted” area like an ICU. It’s also very possible that no one saw or noticed the priest coming/going. It does happen.

When my grandfather was in a hospital outside of my state, I called the nearest Catholic parish for a priest who said he’d give my grandfather the last rites. When I mentioned the name, the priest recalled the name and said that he had already given him the rites.

Maybe you can call the priests and tell them the name of your father to confirm? If they remember his name, then you’d know for sure.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.