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Who Can Receive the Anointing of the Sick?

Q. Is a person’s age the primary qualification to receive this sacrament?

A person’s age is not the primary factor in receiving the Anointing of the Sick. The 1972 ritual indicates that it is for “Christians whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age” (97). Ideally, this sacrament should be celebrated while the person receiving it is conscious and is accompanied by relatives and friends.

The ritual specifies that this sacrament may be repeated: “a) when the sick person recovers after being anointed and, at a later time, becomes sick again; b) when during the same illness the condition of the sick person becomes more serious.

“In the case of a person who is chronically ill, or elderly and in a weakened condition, the Sacrament of Anointing may be repeated when in the pastoral judgment of the priest the condition of the sick person warrants the repetition of the sacrament” (102).

People of all ages, including children, who suffer from a serious illness or are facing major surgery can be anointed.

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