Goffine’s Devout Instructions – Extreme Unction

Extreme Unction is a sacrament in which, through the anointing with holy oil and the prayer of the priest, the grace of God is imparted to the sick in danger of death, for the welfare of the soul, and often also for that of the body. This sacrament is called Extreme Unction, because it is usually the last sacred anointing administered by the Church.

How is Extreme Unction administered?

  • The priest, having presented to the sick person a crucifix to kiss, sprinkles him, others who are present, and the place itself with holy water, and then recites a series of prayers.
  • The Confiteor, or general confession, is then said in the usual manner.
  • The priest, making the sign of the cross three times, prays that through the imposition of his hands, and the intercession of the angels and saints, all power of the evil spirit may be extinguished in the sick person.
  • He anoints the five senses with holy oil in the form of the cross, repeating this prayer at each anointing: “Through this holy unction and His most tender mercy, may the Lord forgive thee whatever sins thou hast committed by thy sight, by thy hearing,” etc.
  • The priest then prays for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the sick man, and gives him his blessing.

Why is oil used in this sacrament?

Because oil softens, strengthens, and helps, and is strikingly significant of the effects of the sacrament.

Why are the five senses anointed?

The five senses are anointed because, being the instruments of sin, their anointing signifies that our soul is cleansed from guilt.
Extreme Unction is usually given immediately after the Viaticum.
Penance, the Holy Viaticum, and Extreme Unction are sometimes called “the sacraments of the dying”, or “the last sacraments”.

How does the Church show her loving solicitude for the dying?

By ordaining special prayers and litanies to be offered up for them by the priest to obtain the grace of a happy death.
These prayers are sometimes called the recommendation of a soul departing.

Goffine’s Devout Instructions