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Next weekend (at the 12:15pm Mass on Sunday, May 20th), we will celebrate a special Anointing Mass, at which we will offer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to anyone who could benefit from it.  We do this twice a year, and I know that many of our parishioners find this to be a very meaningful experience.


In the New Testament, the Letter of St. James (5:14-15) reads


Is anyone among you sick?  He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.


Healing the sick was a big part of Jesus’ public ministry on earth, as well as the focus of many of His miracles.  He often used physical healings – healings of symptoms we can see – in order to understand a deeper level of healing that He desires for us – a spiritual healing that we cannot see.


The Anointing of the Sick works in much the same way.  Physical sickness is obviously accompanied by physical suffering, and sometimes the sacrament might lead to a lessening of that physical suffering.  But physical sickness also contributes to a lot of spiritual and emotional suffering.  It can make us question our self-worth and even our faith, and it can be difficult to approach our suffering with hope.  Whether or not any kind of physical healing occurs, we trust that this spiritual healing always happens when we receive the sacrament.  Through it, God gives us the grace we need to approach even the most difficult illnesses with hope and faith.


If you or anyone else you know could benefit from this sacrament, please join us next weekend at 12:15pm.  And if you are aware of parishioners who are unable to attend because they are hospitalized or homebound, please let the Parish Office know.  We do our best to attend to our parishioners who are hospitalized or homebound; they are part of our parish family, and we take our responsibility to them very seriously.  Our priests usually visit the hospitals three times a week.  We also make regular visits to the homebound and have a dedicated group of lay parishioners who take Communion to the homebound as well, often on a weekly basis.  Please continue to make these folks known to us; we usually find out about ill or homebound parishioners from other parishioners.  And please continue to keep these folks in your prayer.  When we honor the inherent human dignity of people who have been seriously affected by illness or age, it’s perhaps one of the most radically pro-life statements we can make.