This sacrament continues Jesus' ministry of care and compassion to the sick and frail in our communities. Sickness and pain can often be a heavy burden for people. When the priest, in the name of the Faith Community, anoints the person with Oil of the Sick, the strengthening power of oil and the comfort of touch remind the sick person that they are not alone in their suffering, but held in prayer by the Community.
This realisation can bring peace of mind and sometimes even healing of the body.
Since Vatican II, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has undergone both a change of name (no longer Extreme Unction) and meaning. It is no longer a sacrament for those at the point of death. Rather the appropriate time is whenever any one of the faithful appears to be in danger of death from sickness or old age (c/f Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy No 73).