Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Blessing of Oil Prayer for Anointing of the Sick to Be Used by Individuals, Families and Communities

In the institutional Roman Catholic Church, only an ordained priest is permitted to anoint  the sick with holy oil. On Holy Thursday, the bishop blesses this oil. 

However, in the early Church, Christians prayed for and anointed one another for healing with holy oil.

Today in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to  reclaim this earlier tradition of praying for and anointing the sick and suffering with oil. As you are aware, there are not enough priests to anoint those who want to be anointed during this pandemic and there is no reason why individuals and families cannot do this themselves. 

I rejoice that women priests and our inclusive faith communities are doing this now. We are reclaiming this ancient practice , and expanding the circle of grace and caring that flows  through each of us and the entire Body of Christ.  We are moving Church from a hierarchical model to a people-empowered, circular model, one woman priest at a time and one inclusive community at a time,  in which the sacraments are celebrated by the people of God, not the clergy alone. 

In this ritual, individuals and communities bless the Holy Oil which can be used when needed for anointing family members, friends and neighbors who are ill. 

Get a small bottle of olive oil and pray this blessing over the the holy oil. Add a fragrance of your choice.

Prayer of Blessing of Holy Oil

Loving God,
You brought healing to the sick through the ministry of Jesus.
Send the Holy Spirit anew on this oil. 

May it serve the needs of the sick. 

May your blessing be upon all those who are anointed with this oil . 
May they be freed from pain and illness and made whole in body, mind and soul. 

(I/We) bless this oil for our use. May all who will be anointed with it  be inwardly transformed, share in the fullness of your healing and experience you infinite love and compassionate care . Amen.

Sacramentals blessed by a bishop. There are three kinds: oil of catechumens, holy chrism, and oil of the sick. The first and third are pure olive oil. chrism has in the oil a mixture of balm or balsam. In 1970, the Congregation for Divine Worship declared that, if necessary, the holy oils may be from any plant and not only from olives. The holy oils are symbols of spiritual nourishment and the light of grace. They are used in the public administration of baptism, confirmation, and anointing of the sick. The blessing of the holy oils normally takes place on Holy Thursday by a bishop at a cathedral church. 

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