Lesson 27: The Sacrament of Extreme Unction
"Is any man sick among you?  Let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man:  and the Lord shall raise him up:  and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him."  (James 5:14-15)

  1. What is the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?

  2.    Extreme Unction is the Sacrament which gives health and strength to the soul and sometimes to the body to persons who are in danger of death.
    The words "Extreme Unction" mean "last anointing."  In Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders, the body is anointed with holy oil.  In the Sacrament of Extreme Unction the body is anointed for the last time.  Hence the name.

  3. How is Extreme Unction given?

  4.    After praying over the sick person, the priest anoints (makes the Sign of the Cross with the Holy Oil) on the person's eyes, ears, nostrils, lips, hands, and feet.

  5. What does the priest say while anointing the sick person?

  6.    He says:  "Through this holy anointing, and by His most tender mercy, may the Lord pardon you what sins you have committed by sight (hearing, speech, and so on)."

  7. What does Extreme Unction do for your soul?

  8.    The Sacrament of Extreme Unction --
    1. Gives you more Sanctifying Grace;
    2. Helps you to bear your sufferings;
    3. Strengthens you against the temptations of the devil;
    4. Sometimes gives back your health;
    5. Takes away temporal punishment due to sin;
    6. Prepares you for immediate entry into Heaven.

  9. Does Extreme Unction take away sin?

  10.    Extreme Unction takes away --
    1. All your venial sins
    2. even your mortal sins if you are unable to confess them but are truly sorry for them.

  11. Who can give Extreme Unction?

  12.    Only a Catholic priest.

  13. Who can receive Extreme Unction?

  14.    Any Catholic in danger of death from sickness, old age or accident not only can, but should receive Extreme Unction.
    However, it may not be given to infants or to anyone who has never had the use of reason.

  15. When should you receive Extreme Unction?

  16.    Whenever the sickness or accident is so serious that it could cause death.
    Examples:  Pneumonia, heart attack, a serious car accident.

  17. How often can you receive Extreme Unction?

  18.    Only once in the same danger of death.
    However, if a new danger arises, you can receive it again.

  19. What should be done in case of sudden death?

  20.    Send for a priest right away, because Extreme Unction may be given even after a person is apparently dead.
    Even when a person displays all the usual manifestations of death, the soul may still not have departed from the body.  Therefore, the Church allows Extreme Unction to be administered for a item after "death" has occurred.

  21. Why is it wrong to wait until the sick person is unconscious before sending for the priest?

  22.    Because the sick person must be conscious in order to benefit the most from the Sacrament.

  23. What kind of sin is it to deprive a sick person of Extreme Unction?

  24.    A mortal sin.
    It often happens that a convert is the only Catholic in a family.  If this is your case, therefore, you should tell your relatives to send for the priest if you are ever in danger of death.

  25. What should be done before the priest comes to anoint the sick person?

  26.    Spread a white cloth on a table beside the bed.  Then put a crucifix, two blessed candles, a bottle of holy water, a glass of drinking water, a spoon and some cotton on the table.
    A member of the family, carrying a lighted candle, should meet the priest at the door and lead him to the sickroom.  No one should talk to the priest, for he probably has the Holy Eucharist with him.  Everyone should kneel down when he enters.  If you do not have the above items, call the priest anyway.

  27. What does the priest do when he enters the sickroom?

  28.    First, he says some prayers, sprinkles the sick person with holy water and hears his Confession.  Then he gives him Holy Communion and Extreme Unction, and finally, the Last Blessing.
    All of these together are called the Last Sacraments or Last Rites of the Church.  (Everyone else leaves the room while the priest hears the sick person's Confession.)


  1. Do not worry that a sick person will be frightened by the priest, because Catholics should always be glad to see the priest in order to receive the comforts that only the Sacraments can bring.
  2. If you are going to be a patient in a non-Catholic hospital, tell your parish priest which one you are going to and how long you expect to be there.  Also, tell the doctors and nurses that you are Catholic and that they should send for a priest if you become critical or serious.
  3. Catholics should be buried in Catholic cemeteries.  Tell your relatives to see your parish priest about your funeral.  Or, make the arrangements yourself ahead of time.
  4. Catholics are forbidden to have their bodies cremated, except in case of a serious public necessity.  The Catholic burial service is denied those who give orders to have their bodies cremated.