Ministry to the Sick and Suffering
Because we are united in the bond of baptism, the sickness and suffering of one member of the Body of Christ touches all the others as well. No one is meant to suffer alone, without the support of a loving and caring faith community. Please keep our parish staff informed about the sickness or death of family members or neighbors in the parish so that our whole parish community may remember them in prayer and extend to them our pastoral care.
The care offered by the Church can be considered as a continuum, which begins when a person begins to be sick and follows him/her and her family as the illness progresses and, if necessary, into the dying process. The continuum can be outlined this way:
I. Visits to the sick
II. Communion to the sick
III. Anointing of the sick
IV. Viaticum (communion of the dying)
What is very important to note is that anointing of the sick is not the last point on this continuum. In other words, although commonly referred to as the “Last Rites,” it does not always come “last.” For this reason, the Church encourages people not to wait until someone is near death to request the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. Instead, when a person begins to be seriously ill, that is the time to request an anointing of the sick. This anointing can take place in the home of the sick person, at church during or after mass, in a hospital or nursing home. Because the sickness affects not just the sick person, but the whole family, it is usually a helpful thing to plan the anointing so that family and their friends can be present as well as the sick person.
Once a year, St. Francis of Assisi Parish celebrates communal anointing of the sick during designated Masses. This gives all parishioners the opportunity to be directly involved in the ministry of prayer, caring and support for the sick of our community.
Please continue to pray for all who are sick in mind, body and spirit.