"Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven" - James 5:14-15
Catholic spiritual care encompasses a wholistic concern for body, mind, and spirit: the totality of the person. Our Hospital/Nursing Home Ministry team reaches out with priests, deacons, and trained laypersons.
In the past, the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was known as the "Last Rites". Fortunately, this sacrament does not need to be postponed until one is very ill. One should not wait until near death, but should be anointed well before that moment.
In the moments of a health crisis, families frequently desire to have a priest visit their loved one. Due to the realities of a priest shortage and parish workloads, it may be difficult or impossible for a parish priest to answer a call on short notice. While a hospital may fall within the territorial responsibilities of a parish, patients are advised to have reasonable expectations if they are not in a hospital with an assigned priest or chaplain. A priest will maker every effort to respond if a Catholic patient has not been anointed.
Usually the sacrament of anointing is given only once per hospital stay. The proper sacrament is called "VIATICUM"(which is HOLY COMMUNION.) This is, in fact, considered the last sacrament of our Christian life.
For the benefit of patients who may be in immediate danger of death, and for the consolation of their loved ones, the Church has prayers of commendation that may be led by a deacon or layperson.
Since it is the Catholic belief that sacraments are only celebrated for the living, the dead cannot receive the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. The Church has a number of prayers for the deceased and the grieving that can be lead by a deacon or layperson.
If the patient is a resident of Trinity or Hearthstone Nursing Homes, it is probable that they have already received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick under the care of Saint William Nursing Home Ministry. Records of anointings are kept at the church office and with the nursing home ministry coordinator.