When you request for a priest to come and administer the Sacrament of Anointing to a sick person in hospital, there are a few things to consider:
1. When you call for a priest, do let him know what sort of sickness the sick person is suffering from. This is so that the priest can determine whether the Sacrament of Anointing is necessary or needed, and also to determine whether other Sacraments such as the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Communion may be administered.
2. It is usually best that you contact the parish you go to or are involved in to ask for a priest to come administer the Sacrament of Anointing. This is so that the parish priest(s) could either administer the Sacrament of Anointing themselves, or where necessary they may seek help from other priests nearby to administer the Sacrament.
3. In most cases, the priest would go and administer the Sacrament of Anointing to the sick person. However, in some situations, especially if the sick person is new to the parish and few know about the sick person, further information such as a recent baptism certificate may be requested. This is to ensure that the Sacrament of Anointing could be validly administered to the sick person.
4. There should be a family member, next of kin, or someone who is close to the sick person at the hospital. This is to ensure that there are no complications in getting to anoint the sick person, as some overzealous hospital security guards or certain strict hospital personnel have made it difficult for a priest to see the sick person, especially when it is outside visiting hours, or there is an emergency and the sick person urgently needs anointing
5. In some hospitals, it is extremely tough to get a place to park. It may be advisable for a family member, next of kin, or someone who is close to the sick person to drive the priest to the hospital and arrange for another person to meet the priest and see to it that the sick person is accessible for anointing.
6. Please ensure that the phone number of the contact person of the family member, next of kin, or someone who is close to the sick person is in working order. There have been situations where the family member, next of kin, or someone who is close to the sick person could not be contacted, as the phone is supposingly switched off or not within the service range.
7. Where possible, and if there is no family member, next of kin, or someone who is close to the sick person at the hospital, the priest should be advised when and what time the family member, next of kin, or someone who is close to the sick person would be present.
8. In some situations, the sick person may have been discharged, moved to another bed, to a different hospital ward, or even to another hospital. If that is the case, the priest should be informed so that he would not end up going to the hospital only to find that the sick person is missing.
9. If the sick person is suffering from a contagious disease, then the family member, next of kin, or someone who is close to the sick person should inform the priest and see that the necessary protective clothing be made available for those present and near the sick person. In some cases, the priest may only be able to give a blessing outside the containment area, especially if the disease is too dangerous for anyone to be exposed to, even with protective clothing.
10. While the priest is performing the anointing, it is suggested that the family member, next of kin, or someone who is close to the sick person check their feelings and not over-react. Staying positive and cheerful could help brighten the atmosphere and alleviate some of the suffering being experienced by the sick person.
May the good Lord give comfort and healing to all our faithful who are sick and seek anointing, so that they would experience His peace and healing.
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