When the people of Gennesaret recongised Jesus they spread the news through the whole neighbourhood and took all who were sick to Him, begging Him just to let them touch the fringe of His cloak. And all those who touched it were cured.” (Matthew 14v 35&36.)
This Sacrament is not to be only associated with those near to death (the Last Rites) but to all who desire the help of God in teh face of illness in mind or body. It requires the presence of a priest, absolution of sins, the Laying on of Hands and anointing with the Oils of the Sick. This assures the sick person of God’s presence with them as they face the future, whatever that may be – either by physical healing, a chance of living to cope with a disability or passing through the gates of death to a new life with God.
For those who have become housebound through illness or age, the Sacrament of Holy Communion can be brought to them at home either by the priest or an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
The Last Rites which are based around the Sacrament of Confession, Anointing and Holy Communion also commend a person to the merciful love of God and the hope of Heaven. The prayers give the assurance that the dying person is making this journey, not alone but surrounded by prayer and love on earth and the presence of angels and saints – at the “other side” especially the presence of Mary, our Heavenly Mother.