Anointing of the Sick

Posted February 14, 2020 at 11:52 am

People might often be concerned that a friend or loved one who receives anointing of the sick, whether in the hospital or their home, might be nearing death.

But receiving the church’s sacrament of physical and spiritual healing is not always a prelude to one’s passing.

According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “In the church’s sacrament of anointing of the sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin  and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.”

Jesus’ healing ministry continues through the church, passed on when he instructed the apostles and sent them out on their mission: “With that, they

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    Messiah: priest, prophet & king

    The term “messiah” comes from the Hebrew word meaning “anointed one.” This term was applied to priests, prophets and kings in the Old Testament. The people given these titles were first anointed with water or oil to consecrate them for their specific mission. Sometimes even the Spirit of God anointed someone to their role.  

    According to the Catholic Bible Dictionary, kings were most frequently called “messiahs” or “anointed ones.” There are several instances throughout the Old Testament where men are anointed as kings.

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    St. Gabriel

    In the biblical story of the Annunciation, the Archangel St. Gabriel told Mary she would be the mother of the long-awaited savior (Lk 1:26-35). St. Gabriel also appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist (Lk 1:11-20). But the appearance of St. Gabriel in the Bible goes beyond the Gospels. Knowledge of the angel Gabriel is evident in the ancient Jewish tradition as well, and there is a lot of speculation about his role in salvation history. 

    St. Gabriel first

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    Come let us adore him

    We know the story of the three wise men following a bright star to see the baby Jesus. There’s even a Christmas carol that is quite popular during Mass on the feast of the Epiphany, “We Three Kings.” So, who were these guys, exactly, and what is their role in the birth of Jesus, the manifestation of God as man? According to Scripture, Matthew Chapter 2:1, “magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem.” According to catholicstraightanswers.com, in the days of King Herod, magi were part of a priestly caste from Persia where astrology was prominent. The Magi explained

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    O celebrate!

    We have reached the point in the Christmas countdown where you don’t have to count how many days  but how many Os are left.

    The Roman Catholic Church has been singing the O Antiphons, also known as “the great Os (not to be confused with a popular LSU coach),” since at least the eighth century. O Antiphons are the verses for the ancient hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and the seven antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Liturgy of the Hours for Vespers from Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 the Christmas Eve Vigil. 

    They are described as “a magnificent theology that

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    Catholic Thanksgiving

    The yearly pageantry featuring paper pilgrim hats, bonnets and Indian headdresses allude to the traditional picture of the “first” Thanksgiving gathering in 1621 at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts of Native Americans and European Puritan pilgrims. But Catholic sources noted there were two thanksgiving events held several decades before that which were deeply rooted in the Catholic faith, through Spain’s cultural influence.  

    The first event, according to catholicstand.com, was Sept. 8, 1565, upon the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in St.

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    New liturgical year

    From August through December, Louisianians can be extremely busy. Fall, y’all, means back to school shopping and early morning carpools.

    There are also Saturday football tailgating from Baton Rouge to Hammond, soccer tournaments and church parish festivals. Sunday means Mass, jambalaya cook-offs and, of course, the New Orleans Saints. And sprinkled among that crowded schedule are a number of holidays – BIG ONES: Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

    And, for Catholics, there is also an extremely busy liturgical calendar. From Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, there are a total of 49

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    Saints, Halloween and Catholicism

    All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas, is celebrated in honor of all canonized saints from Christian history, according to christianity.com. The Catholic Church, as well as the Methodist Church, Lutheran Church and other protestant denominations celebrate it on Nov. 1. However, the Eastern Orthodox and associated Eastern Catholic churches observe All Saints Day on the first Sunday following Pentecost.  

    The exact origins of this feast day are uncertain. But after the legalization of Christianity in 313, a common commemoration of the saints, especially the martyrs, appeared in various areas throughout

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    Month of the Rosary

    The month of October may be the quintessential month of fall with its cooler temperatures, fallen leaves, football schedule, apple harvests and shorter days, but it is also the month of the rosary because the liturgical feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on Oct. 7. It is believed that the Our Father and Hail Mary were recited with prayer beads in the Middle Ages. According to catholicculture.org, Mary appeared to St. Dominic in 1206 after he had been praying because of failure in combating the Albigensian heresy. The website states, “Mary praised him (St. Dominic)

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    St. Michael’s waffles

    For Catholics there are feast days and then there are days to feast (think Thanksgiving, July 4th). However, one feast day offers up a tradition that involves both prayer and … well, not fasting, and that is the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, celebrated on Sept. 29. 

    The feast day is called Michaelmas, or the Mass that celebrates St. Michael, similar to Christmas (Christ’s Mass) and Candlemas (Candle Mass where candles used throughout the year are blessed). The Feast of St. Michael

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    St. Peter Claver

    Long before Martin Luther King Jr. became the face and voice of the civil rights movement, and long before he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through nonviolent activism, there was St. Peter Claver.   

    Born in 1580 in Verdù, Spain, he was educated at the University of Barcelona before joining the Jesuits at age 20, according to aleteia.org. He volunteered to minister in the Spanish colonies and in 1610 was sent to Cartagena, Columbia. At

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    Papal java

    While some in the health industry bedevil coffee with a harrowing list of negative health effects that are countered with a list which frames a halo over it with a list of health benefits, go ahead and enjoy your cup of java from a Catholic perspective because it has been blessed by a pope.  

    According to the website aleteia.org, legend has it that around the year 850 an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi was the first to discover the effects of coffee

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    Sign of Jesus

    You’ve seen it on cars, you’ve seen it on pendants or necklaces. But what exactly is that fish symbol, sometimes called the “Jesus Fish”? In Greek, it’s known as the Ichthys, or “fish,” according to aleteia.org, and its Greek letters, ΙΧΘΥΣ, “are the initials of the words in the Greek phrase that translates to ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.’ ” 

    The origin of the symbol dates to the second century and “for Christians under persecution, the Ichthys became a covert sign to identify their beliefs,” according to aleteia.org.

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    Celebrating Mary

    On Aug. 15, countries around the world will celebrate in different ways the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Feast of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also called the Feast of Dormition by the Eastern Orthodox Church.  In ancient times, the Assumption of Mary was celebrated by public illumination and night-time bonfires.   

    In Italy, there are colorful processions through the streets and a fireworks exhibit, according to aglobal world.com.  In Sicily and rural areas outside of Rome, the processions are

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    Holy water cleanses both soles and souls

    As Catholics, when we walk into a church or a chapel our eyes automatically scan the walls near the entrance. What are we looking for? Holy water.  

    The holy water font comes in many different forms in our modern day churches from marble bowls attached to walls to freestanding basins. Still other churches offer holy water in flowing fountains, tempting very small children to dip more than just their tiny fingers into the blessed waters.  

    The origin of

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    St. Bridget

    As debates over the role of women in the Catholic Church continue, St. Bridget of Sweden, as Pope Benedict XVI said, is “one of those women who, despite having lived several centuries ago, still has much to teach the Church and the world.”

    St. Bridget, whose feast day is July 23, came from Uppland, Sweden. She obeyed the wishes of her pious parents, who were known for helping people, and married a Swedish prince at 14. They had a happy marriage and raised eight children, including the virgin St. Catherine of Sweden.

    St. Bridget and her

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    Have a seat!

    If you’re running a little late for Sunday Mass, you might also run the risk of not finding a seat, especially if it’s Easter Mass or Christmas Eve Vigil Mass. But, we’re the fortunate ones because seats, or church pews, are available to sit while worshipers in the past stood during the entire celebration of Mass. 

    In the Middle Ages, the pulpit in Catholic churches was constructed in the middle of the church and there was quite a bit of

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    Saints of summer

    With a gamut of ways to spend summer leisure hours, as you pack the sunscreen and beach towel, load your camping gear, check your flight reservations or set your GPS, take “the saints of summer” with you.

    Want to be sure you have a smooth trip to your getaway? Call on St. Christopher, the patron saint of travel. 

    If the airline loses your luggage, pray to Anthony. 

    St. Nicholas of Myra is the patron saint of sailors

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    Botafumeiro

    If a smoking Mass can sometimes get under your skin, or in your eyes or nasal passages, be glad that the incense burner is a small one and not the Santiago de Compestela Botafumeiro. At 5.25 feet in height, the Botafumeiro is one of the largest censers in the world.  

    The name Botafumeiro comes from the Spanish words “botar” and “fume” which means “expel smoke,” according to aleteia.org. The giant censer is located in the cathedral at Santiago de

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    Mystagogy

    In the same way as newlyweds enjoy their honeymoon as husband and wife, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults candidates who came into full communion with the church at the Easter Vigil Mass bask in their new relationship with the church and think and reflect on the meaning of it all.    

    The newest members of the church, referred to as neophytes from the Greek meaning “newly planted” or “newly converted,” are in a final period  of catechesis from Easter Sunday through Pentecost called mystagogy.

    The need for ongoing catechesis in the

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    Jesus’ appearances

    The joy of the Easter season is just beginning, as Jesus appeared after rising from the grave to prove there is resurrection of life after death for believers.  

    Three of the four Gospels give more than a half a dozen appearances of Jesus after his resurrection, according to Loyola Press.  

    In St. Mark’s Gospel, women came to anoint Jesus’ body and found the stone of the tomb rolled back. A young man clothed in white was there and

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    Ronald McFish?

    No meat on Fridays during Lent? No problem for Catholics in south Louisiana who consider anything growing in or around a bayou, river, lake, ditch or Gulf of Mexico sustenance for the dinner table.  

    In the past, however, the no meat deal included all Fridays of the year and even Wednesdays during Lent. The rule was initially aimed at prescribing faithful Catholics to eat fruits and vegetables and abstaining from meats, which were much more filling.  

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    Stations of the Cross

    “We adore you, oh Christ, and we praise you … because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.” 

    Stations of the Cross (and Knights of Columbus fish fries) are favorite Friday traditions for many Catholics.

    The devotion of the Stations of the Cross, also known as the Way of the Cross, Via Crucis and Via Dolorosa, helps the faithful make, in spirit, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and walk in the footsteps of Christ through his sufferings and death. 

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    Food for thought

    If you are from the ages of 18 to 59, listen up: this fast is for you. During Lent, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. And, “if possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night),” according to the USCCB.  

    But, what is fasting? The Bible is littered with fasting. According to the definition in

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    Divine mercy at Lent

    After Mardi Gras is over, and the streets have been cleaned of – well most – signs of revelry, as trees continue to harbor beaded jewels, many Catholics will “get their ashes” and look grimly ahead and groan over the sacrifices they will have to make during Lent. From dessert to desert.

    Yes, Jesus, we are ready to walk with you “to the end” to that black, grisly Good Friday. Can you make our crosses a little lighter though?

    But in the midst of the arid wasteland, Jesus does more than give us “oasis moments.”

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    The sign of peace

    You know you’ve been there before, in that emotional state – with a heavy heart, mind or spirit, you attend Mass, hoping to find peace with that something or someone through prayer. As the liturgy continues, the worry or concern might be overwhelming and the last thing you want is human contact – with your spouse, your child, your parent or even your neighbor. But, that is exactly what God is calling us to do when we make the sign of peace in Mass.  

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    Your Valentine?

    Order roses. Check. 

    Purchase chocolate. Check. 

    Dinner reservation? Oops, better get on that.

    The country’s most romantic holiday is nearing, and despite what a popular greeting card company might say, Valentine’s Day has Catholic roots, although confusion remains when it comes to St. Valentine.

    A third century priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecute Christians during the reign of Claudius II, St. Valentine of Rome was a Catholic Bishop of Terni who

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    Can you hear the bells?

    Bells will be ringing.

    Or maybe not.

    Depending on the church one attends, altar servers might or might not ring the Sanctus bells during the consecration, trumpeting the turning of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

    According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the how to manual on celebrating the Mass, there are two occasions when bells might be used during the liturgy. Of course, the most common is during the consecration.

    Bells may also be rung shortly before the consecration, according to the GIRM,

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    Candy canes rooted in sweet  tradition of Catholicism 

    The stockings have been hung by the chimney with care, and the lights put up without pulling out one’s hair.  

    Now perhaps comes the most delectable part of decking out the house with Christmas cheer: strategically placing the candy canes on the tree, participating in a Christmas tradition rooted in Catholicism.  

    Candy canes? Catholicism?  

    According to legend, those delicious, sugar-powered candies first made their holiday appearance during the 17th century. Originally believed to be developed in Europe as a white

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    A Pearl Harbor hero

    On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Father Al Schmitt, a Navy chaplain aboard the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor, awoke to celebrate Mass on board the Nevada-class battleship.

    Only minutes after the Sunday morning Mass had ended, the Oklahoma was torpedoed during the Japanese’s surprise attack on the Hawaiian Islands. Father Schmitt, along with several other shipmates, was trapped in a small compartment with only a small porthole as an escape route. 

    Father

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