Who should attend the Anointing Mass

I just turned 60 this year. In my mind I am still young but my body is ageing. I have been diagnosed with diabetes and am I on medication but not insulin yet. I am trying to control it with diet and exercise. However exercising is difficult because of my bad knees. There has been mention of arthritis, but to my knowledge I have not yet been diagnosed with arthritis however I do have painful joints. It is painful to shake hands at church and I have at times used a cane when I have more pain and feel weak. The doctor has actually said that I have “chronic illness”. Last year, I did attend the Anointing Mass because in the description of who should attend it included those with “chronic illness”. This year, the description says, " Those who are age 65 or older, in frail health or facing major surgery may attend and receive the Anointing of the Sick."
I don’t know if “chronic illness” is the same as “frail health”.
Should I attend the anointing Mass?

Well, you say you are 60 and that one of the requirements is that you should be 65 years old, you don’t meet the age requirement. I wouldn’t say chronic illness and frail health are not the same. Chronic illness is a long term illness and often one that never goes away. You have a chronic illness - diabetes. I don’t know if you consider yourself frail. I have a chronic illness - asthma. But I’m not at all frail.

It seems to me that some priests are widening the scope of who should receive the anointing of the sick and they’re widening the scope more than is intended. When this sacrament was revised after Vatican II it’s name was changed from “Extreme Unction”. This was because the Church wanted us to move away from the idea that we should only receive it when death is imminent. That’s no longer the case. The Church wants us to receive the sacrament earlier. She doesn’t intend we receive every time we are ill but that we should receive for illnesses that are likely to be our final illness. If you have a cold or flu or food poisoning you don’t get this sacrament. If you’ve been told you’ve got a cancer and months to live then this sacrament becomes appropriate.

In the end the decision whether you go is down to you.

I would say talk to the priest and see if it is appropriate for you to attend.

Although I am not Charismatic, I know of some priests who are. They have Masses where most of the people go up and are prayed for. I have attended a few times and feel that praying over the sick is very important.

I also have many chronic health issues and so do two of my daughters. When I was growing up, although not Catholic, my mother had my brother prayed for and herself and were healed. This was in an Episcopal church.

If one is healthy they have no idea of the suffereing one can go through and most have no empathy for others, unless they have family members who have serious chronic conditions. In fact I was told by one doctor that one of my conditions was worse than having cancer, because with cancer you etiher die or are cured, with my very painful condition you just suffer for the rest of your life.

Christ prayed over the blind etc. which is chronic so I see no reason why our priests can’t pray over anyone who have health issues. Catholics take their family members to Lourdes for the baths and prayers are said. If it is God’s will for one to be healed and a priest has the gift from God why should one be denied being prayed for.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary


You don’t have to by dying or in serious condition to get anointed. If you have any condition, then go.

ANY Catholic in need of anointing because of illness (regardless of the type) SHOULD attend the anointing Mass.

It is wrong of whoever wrote up that description to make it so limiting.

Anointing of the sick is NOT just for those dying, it is for anyone that believes that they need it.

A healing mass is different that the sacrament of the annointing of the sick. Typically after the Mass the priest will have people line up for prayer, usually anyone who wants healing of the body, mind, soul or spirit can go.

We have an acquaintance our age who looks quite fit. He is a retired Marine and he teaches Hapkido. One day he was experiencing some fatigue and he started having pain in his jaw and was slirring his speech a little. He kept telling himself, “I think I’m having a heart attack. I should probably call 911.” But not being 100% sure, he kept putting off making the call. His daughter happened to call him and he mentioned his symptoms and jokingly said he thought he was having a heart attack. His daughter also urged him to go to the hospital immediately to get checked out. But he hesitated. Finally his wife (who was at work) got word from his daughters that she needed to take their dad to the hospital immediately to get checked out. It turned out they caught it right in time and he had to have some stints put in. The thing is, sometimes it is difficult for the patient to determine just how frail we are and how soon we need to seek help.

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