The Pastor's Column



Fr. Maina


The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

This weekend’s Muse deals specifically with the healing ministry of the Church highlighting the 9:30am mass when those seeking healing will receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

Illness is part of life. At some point, each of us experiences illness and it is through our Christian faith that we can draw invaluable spiritual insights while dealing with illness.

All four Gospels showcase Jesus’ healing ministry from which we can clearly infer that Jesus understood the horror and fear surrounding illness, both in the person and in the society. At that time, in addition to physical limitations due to illness, people also endured rejection and expulsion from the community, in part because they were deemed unclean. Jesus’ outlook on illness, however, entailed compassion; He experienced the pain of others’ illnesses to the very core of His being and longed to heal them and restore them to the community. But the real miracle was not about the physical healing but the healing of the soul and bringing the person to believe in God through Christ.

The compassion in Jesus was commanded to the disciples and continues in the Church today through the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, during which the sick person also receives reconciliation. While sickness can cause despair, pain, and challenge, it also presents the opportunity to receive God’s grace and strength and could act as a conversion moment insofar as the sacrament affords the opportunity to deepen our faith in Christ.

Traditionally, the laying of hands on the sick person by the priest (following what Jesus and the disciples did) signifies a sacred purpose, a changed reality, and a blessing. It was also seen as a sign of mission, a commission for God. Above all, in the practice of the Church’s sacramental ministry, laying on of hands invokes the Holy Spirit, seeking bestowal of courage and strength on the sick person.

With Vatican Council II, the liturgical nature of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was emphasized. Liturgy is not a private act of worship, but rather an action of the community of believers. Therefore, the Rite of Anointing incorporates a liturgical sequence. Vatican Council II also emphasized that the sacrament is more to be seen as Christ’s healing ministry (James 5: 14-15) which He instituted through the presbyters of His Church. Because of the healing emphasis, this sacrament then was deemed acceptable to be received more than once and should not be reserved only for the moment of death. Careful judgment about the gravity of the illness is sufficient for one to receive the Sacrament. Also, persons frail because of age can receive the Sacrament even though no life-threatening illness exists and persons about to undergo surgery may receive the Sacrament as well. The prayed-for effect is that, if it be God’s will, the person will receive physical healing. Even if physical healing is not realized, the primary effect of the sacrament is spiritual healing. The anointed person is granted the grace of peace and courage to deal with the challenges of illness or old age. Another element present in the Sacrament of the Sick is that a sick person’s sins are forgiven if that person was unable to go to confession before the Sacrament of the Sick was administered. Accordingly, only a bishop or priest can administer the Anointing of the Sick, using sacred oil blessed by the bishop each year. This oil is central to the healing ministry of the Church and is reserved for sacramental use.

Thus, I encourage parishioners experiencing illness to make every effort to receive the Sacrament of the Sick. If you are unable to leave home, please call the rectory office at 847-729-1414 so arrangements can be made for you to receive the Sacrament at home. If you are admitted to the hospital, be sure to indicate that you are a Catholic and request Pastoral Care. Often, the chaplain will contact the parish and request a priest for you. At Glenbrook Hospital, priests from OLPH, St. Norbert, and St. Catherine take turns to accommodate patients’ sacramental needs. I am responsible on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for ANY priestly duty at Glenbrook Hospital. Lutheran General has a full-time priest, but also parishes near the hospital take turns covering priestly duties.

I pray you or a loved one will not miss an opportunity to partake in this Sacrament if and when in need. I always make myself available for this crucial ministry. I thank all Ministers of Care for praying with and giving communion to the sick in our community. Thanks in particular to Zeny de Guzman and Michael Field for their leadership in the Ministry of Care. Your dedication and love for your ministry brings the healing touch of Jesus. God bless you for the good work you do.

May God bless you and your family.

Fr. Maina
With you a Christian, for you a priest.

We are actively searching for the new Director of Music. Following are key responsibilities of this position and some of the qualifications we seek:

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Plan and coordinate the entire music program, providing leadership and resources to all musicians
  • Coordinate Sunday liturgies, weddings, funerals, holy days and special occasions
  • Primarily responsible for the music selection of all regular and special celebrations
  • Work with Church choirs and cantors; coordinate with and be a resource to school music teacher
  • Regular meetings with the pastor, staff and liturgy committee
  • Maintain the music library
  • Supervise maintenance of all parish instruments

Qualifications

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in music; masters’ degree preferred
  • Proficient with organ, piano, and/or voice
  • Deep understanding and appreciation for Catholic liturgy and theology
  • Committed to developing and maintaining active congregational singing
  • Knowledge of the complete tradition of Catholic music
  • Background in selection of appropriate music for liturgies
  • Experience in leading choirs and working with cantors
  • Enthusiastic, dynamic, outgoing personality
  • Ability and openness to working with people of all ages
  • Ability to recruit and train parishioners for parish choirs
  • An approach to ministry rooted in prayer and reflection

If you know someone who would be interested in this position, contact the rectory or Fr. Lara who can be reached at 847-729-9234 or ilara@archchicago.org.