The Anointing of the Sick was, for some centuries, restricted to cases of extreme illness. This special anointing (unction) was reserved and became transformed into the “Last Rites.” While there are still last rites in the Church in a manner of speaking, that is to say, Viaticum (Eucharist given for the journey), the Anointing for the Sick has regained its place as a sacrament of healing.
The Anointing of the Sick is not for minor illnesses. Instead, the sacrament is bestowed when prudent judgment indicates that a person is seriously ill, of advanced years so as to be significantly debilitated, or when a pre-existing illness becomes graver. The sacrament may be given to those undergoing surgery and even to children if they are seriously ill.
A Mass of Anointing of the Sick is celebrated on the first Saturday each month at 9 AM or you may arrange an appointment with one of the priests to receive the sacrament before entering the hospital or at other times of serious illness.
For emergencies please call for a priest any time, at (718) 638-1881.