ANOINTING at st. john’s
“Extreme Unction”, a term common in past centuries but rarely used today, refers to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which is administered both to the dying and to those who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, for the recovery of their health and for spiritual strength. Unction means an anointing with oil (which is part of the sacrament), and extreme refers to the fact that the sacrament (at least until recent years) was usually administered in extremity—in other words, when the person to whom it was being administered was in grave danger of dying. The “Last Rites” normally include unction but also prayers, confession and viaticum (the last partaking of the Eucharist).
If one is seriously ill, frail in old age, or in danger of dying, it is wise to call the priest to perform these sacred rites of the Church. Do not wait to call the clergy until the last minute lest it be too late for your loved one to receive them.