Diocese of Scranton Observing World Day of the Sick
Bishop Bambera To Celebrate Mass for the Sick February 11 at Cathedral
The World Day of the Sick offers us an opportunity to draw particularly close to people who are ill, and to those who care for them.
This was expressed by Pope Francis in his message for the annual observance. The Holy Father noted: “For our loved ones who suffer because of illness we ask first for their health. Jesus himself showed the presence of the Kingdom of God specifically through his healings. But love animated by faith makes us ask for them something greater than physical health: we ask for peace, a serenity in life that comes from the heart and is God’s gift, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, a gift which the Father never denies to those who ask him for it with trust.”
The Diocese of Scranton will observe the 25th World Day of the Sick on Saturday, February 11, 2017. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will celebrate a Mass for the Sick at 12:10 p.m. in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton. During the Mass there will be a celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick for anyone acutely or chronically ill, anyone suffering a debilitating condition, anyone facing surgery, the elderly, and all who might be a candidate for this sacrament. CTV: Catholic Television will broadcast the Mass live.
Each parish in the Diocese is also encouraged to schedule a similar celebration either on February 11 or another convenient day near it. Information and resources to help plan a liturgical celebration have been provided to each parish by the Office for Parish Life through the Diocesan website at www.dioceseofscranton.org (see Parish Life menu tab, then World Day of the Sick.) The website also contains information about the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
ANOINTING OF THE SICK
Joined to Christ, Witness to Hope and Healing
The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient. The Sacrament may be repeated if the sick person recovers after the anointing but becomes ill once again, or if, during the same illness, the person’s condition becomes more serious. A person should be anointed before surgery when a dangerous illness is the reason for the intervention. (cf. Rite of Anointing, Introduction, nos. 8-10).
Moreover, “old people may be anointed if they are in weak condition even though no dangerous illness is present. Sick children may be anointed if they have sufficient use of reason to be comforted by this sacrament. . . . [The faithful] should be encouraged to ask for the anointing, and, as soon as the time for the anointing comes, to receive it with faith and devotion, not misusing the sacrament by putting it off” (Rite of Anointing, nos. 11, 12, 13).
Only bishops and priests may be ministers of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. A penitential rite followed by the Liturgy of the Word opens the celebration. Scripture awakens the faith of the sick and family members and friends to pray to Christ for the strength of his Holy Spirit. The priest lays his hands on the head of the sick person. He then proceeds to anoint, with the blessed Oil of the Sick, the forehead and hands of the sick person (in the Roman Rite). He accompanies these acts with the words, “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1513).
For those who are about to depart from this life, the Church offers the person Penance, Anointing of the Sick, and the Eucharist as Viaticum (food for the journey) given at the end of life. These are “the sacraments that prepare for our heavenly homeland” (cf. Catechism, no. 1525). These rites are highly valued by Catholics as powerful aids to a good death. Since Holy Communion is the effective sign of Christ’s Paschal Mystery, it becomes for the recipient the opportunity to unite one’s own suffering and dying to that of Christ with the hope of life eternal with him. The special words proper to Viaticum are added: “May the Lord Jesus protect you and lead you to everlasting life. Amen.”
- Bulletin insert, in English and Spanish, helpful for catechesis in preparation for the celebration: Anointing of the Sick: Joined to Christ, Witness to Hope and Healing
Additional background information could be drawn from The Catechism of the Catholic Church, #’s 1499 – 1532 and Pastoral Care of the Sick, General Introduction, #’s 1 – 37.
Questions? Assistance needed? Please feel free to contact David Baloga in the Office for Parish Life 570-207-2213.