Pastoral Care of the Sick in our Parishes

February 2022 | The Catholic Miscellany

World day of the Sick / Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

A special candle for the sick will light on the Altar in Ferrybank and Slieverue from this weekend leading up our celebration of World Day of the Sick on Friday 11th February.

To celebrate this special day of prayer for all who are sick we are also inviting you to join us for Mass for the sick on Friday 11th February at 10 am in Slieverue during which the anointing of the sick will be celebrated. 

There will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Ferrybank from 10.30 am until 3 pm praying for all the sick of our parishes and all who we know to be sick at this time. At 2.30 pm we will begin a celebration of the Sacrament of the anointing of the sick for all who wish to receive the Sacrament. The Rosary for the sick will be recited at the Ferrybank Grotto dedicated to our Lady of Lourdes at 7 pm on Friday evening. (weather permitting!)  

Please take a leaflet from our churches about our ministry to the sick. Those who are sick or their families should contact the Parish Office if they wish to be added to our home visitation  list. 


Message of Pope Francis for World Day of the Sick 2022

Click on image for Pastoral care of the sick leaflet


Please be aware that due to  Covid – 19 Pandemic Restrictions and taking into account Public Health Advice  visitation of  homes, hospitals, & care facilities is not permissible except in emergency situations.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.”

-From the Letter of St.James Ch5 V14

The Pastoral Care of the Sick is an important aspect of the Church’s Ministry and is an important part of the life of our Parish communities. Sickness can leave individuals feeling vulnerable or isolated.  The Ministry of Jesus himself focused a great deal on those who were sick, many of whom experienced healing from his hands.

Who are the Sick?

Pastoral care of the Sick is provided for all who suffer in any way in our communities. Those who are sick include people suffering from diseases of the body, mind or spirit. The elderly, housebound, those in hospital, nursing homes and care centres are all included in the category of the sick. 

How is Pastoral Care provided in our Parishes?

Pastoral care of the Sick includes prayer for the sick at our Masses, visitation of the sick at home or in a care setting when this is requested by families and permitted by public health authorities. It is provided by Ministers & Priests of the faith community. It involves celebration of the Sacraments of the Sick, distribution of Holy Communion, & the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Pastoral and spiritual care is also provided for those on their journey home to the Lord. It is always important that the families of those who are sick are also cared for. Hospital visits always respect the fact that the chaplain will have been ministering to the sick person.

What should I do if a family member is sick?

Firstly ask the sick person if they would like to be visit by the priest. If they consent then contact the Parish Office to arrange a visit. 

If the sick person is in hospital or a nursing home please give details of the venue and the their location in the care centre. If at home please have the persons name, address, & eircode at hand when you call as you would for any other service provider. Visitation of the sick can only take place following a request from the family & not on second hand information.

When should a visit be requested?

In the old days there was a tendency to call the priest at the last minute to anoint the person before death. This is no longer our understanding of the celebration of the Sacraments for the sick & dying. When a person becomes ill, receives a serious diagnosis or because of frailty is no longer able to attend Mass that is the time to contact the priest so that they can be strengthened by the prayer of the Church community. It should also be remembered that because of the many commitments of priests today there is no guarantee that they can be available at a minutes notice. The rule of thumb is – DO NOT LEAVE IT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE.

Should we delay the visit of the priest in case the sick person is frightened?

Quite often we hear that families did not want to ‘frighten’ the sick person by calling the priest too early even though doctors and palliative care teams are already caring for the sick person. There is no need to be afraid, the visit of the priest will always be handled sensitively and no one will ever be frightened. 

What will happen when a visit is requested?

When a request is made for the priest to visit a sick person the family member who made the request will be contacted and arrangements made. After the first visit follow up visits (First  Friday visits etc) can be organised if appropriate. 

What is the Anointing of the Sick ?

The Lord himself showed great concern for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the sick and commanded his followers to do likewise. This is clear from the gospels, and above all from the existence of the sacrament of  anointing, which he instituted and which is made known in the Letter of James. Since then the Church has never ceased to celebrate this sacrament for its members by the anointing and the prayer of its priests, commending those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them (see Jas 5:14-16). 

If necessary, the sacrament also provides the sick person with the forgiveness of sins and the completion of Christian penance. 

Who can receive the  Anointing of the Sick ?

Great care and concern should be taken to see that those of the faithful whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age receive this sacrament.

The sacrament may be repeated if the sick person recovers after being anointed and then again falls ill or if during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious. 

A sick person may be anointed before surgery whenever a serious illness is the reason for the surgery. Elderly people may be anointed if they have become notably weakened even though no serious illness is present. 

Sick children are to be anointed if they have sufficient use of reason to be strengthened by this sacrament. The sacrament of anointing is to be conferred on sick people who, although they have lost consciousness or the use of reason, would, as Christian believers, have at least implicitly asked for it when they were in control of their faculties. When a priest has been called to attend those who are already dead, he should not administer the sacrament of anointing. Instead, he should pray for them, asking that God forgive their sins and graciously receive them into the kingdom. But if the priest is doubtful whether the sick person is dead, he is to confer the sacrament conditionally. 

How is the Anointing of the Sick celebrated?

The oil used for the anointing of the sick must be blessed for this purpose by the bishop or by a priest The sick person is anointed on the forehead and on the hands. In case of necessity, however, it is sufficient that a single anointing be given on the forehead or, because of the particular condition of the sick person, on another suitable part of the body, while the whole sacramental form is said.

What is Viaticum for the Dying ?

When in their passage from this life Christians are strengthened by the Body and Blood of Christ in viaticum, they have the pledge of the resurrection that the Lord promised “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day” (Jn 6:54). All baptised Christians who are able to receive communion are bound to receive viaticum when in danger of death from any cause. The celebration of this sacrament is not delayed, & the faithful are to be nourished by it while still in full possession of their faculties.

Ferrybank & Slieverue Parishes

Pastoral Care of the Sick

To arrange Pastoral Care for the Sick in our Parishes or for further information please contact the Parish Office

Tel. 051 830813