Many of us grew up when this Sacrament was known as “Extreme Unction”. Because of the name, we associated this anointing of the sick only with the “Last Rites” the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum (Holy Communion as `Food for the Journey’) given to a person who was dying.
The Bishops at Vatican Council II restored this Sacrament to its original purpose as a Sacrament for the Sick – not just for those who are at the point of death, but also for anyone who was seriously ill. To help all better understand this, the name was changed to the “Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick”.
As a Sacrament, the best way to celebrate it is within the community of the Church – that is, with the family and friends of the sick person gathered around – and the sick person alert and able to respond in faith to the healing presence of the Lord in the Sacrament.
Because of this, if you know of someone who has a debilitating or life threatening illness, please call the parish office (408) 378-2464 to arrange for a priest to visit and anoint the sick person. Do not wait until the person is at the point of death.