The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is administered to the dying, to those who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, or for the recovery of their health and for spiritual strength. It is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.
This rite is one way in which the Church continues the healing ministry of Jesus. The healing offered by this anointing is forgiveness of sins, hope and inner peace, sometimes physical healing, and an assurance of God's steadfast care, even in death.
In the past, this sacrament was often kept strictly for those close to death. In more recent years the Church has encouraged greater use of this sacrament for illness which is not necessarily life-threatening. As with all the sacraments, this anointing has significance for the whole Church. It reminds us of our call to wholeness and our call to be a sign of salvation to the world. Wherever there is brokenness, we are to be instruments of Christ's healing touch.