Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction)
Extreme Unction, also called the Anointing of the Sick, is the Sacrament by which, through the prayers of a priest and the anointing with olive oil (blessed by the Bishop), a person who is in danger of death from sickness is given health of the soul and sometimes also of the body. At Saint James Church, the olive oil which is used by the priests is blessed by the Bishop of Erie on Holy Thursday at the Chrism Mass at Saint Peter Cathedral.
Those who are in need of this Sacrament are asked to contact a priest in the parish office at 814-899-6178 to make arrangements. It is prudent to receive the Anointing of the Sick prior to serious operations or whenever there is a serious danger to health. We ask the families of Saint James to contact the parish on behalf of loved ones who may be seriously ill or near death.
The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church; the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of penance; the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul; the preparation for passing over to eternal life.
--Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1532
Does a person have to be dying to receive this sacrament? No. The Catechism says,
The anointing of the sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.
--Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1514