"By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. And indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ."
- Catechism of the Catholic Church 1499
Anointing of the Sick is celebrated communally every fall or individually by calling the Parish Office for an appointment. This sacrament is not only for those who are dying. The sacrament may be repeated as needed.
If Anointing of the Sick is received with the right intentions, its effects are bountiful. With repentance for one’s sins, this Sacrament does not only deliver us from our sins, but can also deliver us from the temporal punishment due to sin. It is also a time to pray for strength to bear one’s sufferings and if it be the will of God, that your suffering be lessened or you be healed, if not in body, at least in spirit. The Holy Oils from the Chrism Mass that are specifically blessed for the sick are used.
At one time it was called the “Last Rites” and usually a priest was only called when the person was about to die. The Second Vatican Council, in its Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, moved away from that popular understanding, and stated the Anointing of the Sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death.” Rites for the anointing were revised to make it clear that the anointing may be given to anyone who is seriously ill, with the hope that the person might be restored to health.
Anointing is also different from Viaticum, "food for the journey." Viaticum is a person's final reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist before passing from this world.