Francis asks to pray for the pastoral care of the sick

In “The Pope Video” corresponding to the prayer intention for July 2024, the Holy Father highlights the importance of the Anointing of the Sick, a healing sacrament that offers spiritual comfort

“When the priest approaches a person to give him the Anointing of the Sick, he is not necessarily helping him say goodbye to life. To think like this is to renounce all hope. It is to assume that after the priest comes the undertaker,” said Pope Francis in the video released on Tuesday, July 2. This message, produced by the Pope’s Global Prayer Network (WNPR) in collaboration with a team from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, emphasizes that the Anointing of the Sick heals the spirit and is recommended for both the seriously ill and the elderly.

The Pontiff invites everyone to pray “that the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick gives those who receive it and their loved ones the strength of the Lord and becomes a visible sign of compassion and hope.”

Closeness is the most important “medicine” for the terminally ill

The RMOP remembers that “the sacraments of the Church are gifts, ways in which Jesus is present to bless, encourage, accompany and console.” The Anointing of the Sick offers comfort to both those suffering from serious illness and their loved ones, demonstrating that the priest does not come to say goodbye to the sick but to provide spiritual support.

The video images, filmed in the dioceses of Allentown (Pennsylvania) and Los Angeles (California), illustrate different contexts in which the sacrament is administered, showing diverse stories united by the grace of the sacrament and the affection of loved ones.

The Anointing of the Sick in the light of the Gospels

Father Frédéric Fornos S.J., International Director of the Pope’s Global Prayer Network, highlights that although many have rediscovered the depth of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, it is still often seen as a preparation for death. “This is what Pope Francis says when he remembers that, when someone is seriously ill, we want to postpone the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick more and more, since the idea persists that the gravediggers arrive after the priest (General Audience of December 26). February 2014). For this reason, Pope Francis wishes that this month we can rediscover all the depth and true meaning of this sacrament, not only as a preparation for death, but as a sacrament that offers comfort to the sick in times of serious illness, to their loved ones. loved ones and strength to those who care for them.”

The presence of the priest and those present at the Anointing of the Sick symbolizes the support of the entire Christian community, which nourishes the faith and hope of the sick person and assures him and his family that they are not alone in their suffering. We all know sick people; let us pray for them, and if they face a serious illness or are elderly in decline, let us propose this Sacrament of consolation and hope.

“The Pope Video” reminds us that the Anointing of the Sick is not just a final ritual, but a source of spiritual and community strength, vital for those going through times of illness and their loved ones.