Order hosts Mass to give Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

February 11, 2014

HOUSTON — The Order of Malta hosted the sixth annual Mass for the Anointing of the Sick, celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Saturday, Feb. 1.

The Sacrament of Anointing the Sick was given to those in attendance with seriously impaired health due to sickness or age, before surgery if the surgery is caused by serious illness, elderly people who have become notably weakened, seriously ill children who have reached the age of reason and those who were previously anointed if there is a relapse after recovery or if the condition has become more serious. 

In order to receive the Sacraments of the Church licitly, a Catholic is to be in a state of grace. Individual confession and absolution constitute the ordinary means by which a member of the faithful conscious of grave sin is reconciled with God and the Church. Those who received the Sacrament were encouraged to go to their local parish and receive the Sacrament of Penance prior to receiving the Sacraments of the Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion. Confessions were also available before the Mass.

The Order of Malta is one of the oldest Catholic religious orders, founded in the 11th century to administer hospice-infirmary aid to pilgrims to the Holy Land. 

Today, 13,000 Knights and Dames of Malta with 80,000 volunteers and 15,000 doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals, aid the sick and poor in more than 200 hospitals, medical centers, emergency relief, and ambulance corps worldwide. Their most well-known projects include the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem near the site of the Nativity, and the Order’s annual pilgrimage with the sick to Lourdes, France. 

In Houston, there are approximately 50 members of the Order. In addition to the annual Anointing Mass and its Lourdes pilgrimage, the Order locally serves the sick and the poor at Martha’s Kitchen, the Veterans’ Hospital and Catholic Charities.