Bishop celebrates Mass with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

During the Mass with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick held at St. James Parish in St. Joseph on April 21, Bishop Johnston administers the sacrament.  The Mass was organized by the St. Joseph chapter of the Order of Malta. (Sara Kraft/Key photo)

By Sara Kraft

“This Mass goes right to the heart of what Malta is about – the sick and the poor and reaching out to those in need of healing,” explained Joshua Bachman, an invested lay member of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta (known as the Order of Malta for short). The Order of Malta began in the 11th century, and the majority of the knights and dames are lay members.

The St. Joseph Chapter of the Order of Malta hosted their fourth annual Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick on Saturday, April 21 at St. James Church in St. Joseph. Bishop Johnston was the main celebrant.

When a priest or bishop administers the Anointing of the Sick for an individual it is hoped that the person will be physically healed of illness if it is God’s will. Even if there is no physical healing, the Sacrament can provide peace through the Holy Spirit and the bravery to deal with the challenges of the serious illness or the frailty of old age.

Bishop Johnston reminded participants that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has its origins in Jesus’ own actions and ministry. Jesus passed on the power to heal and forgive sins to the Church and the ministry of the apostles.

“Christ continues to show his great mercy to the sick and suffering, but he also enables them to unite their sufferings to his Passion and death and so make their illness redemptive, able to contribute to the saving work of Christ for others and for themselves,” Bishop Johnston said.

“Your illnesses and your ailings are able to contribute to the salvation of the Church. Christ uses our own illnesses and ailings in a redemptive good.”

“Christ allowed the sick to touch him and he makes our miseries his own,” Bishop Johnston quoted from Catechism of the Catholic Church 1505. “But, it is noteworthy that Christ did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover.”

“Jesus also commanded the apostles to ‘Heal the sick!” The Church believes in the life-giving presence of Christ, the doctor of souls and bodies. His presence is especially active in the Eucharist, which heals our souls and bodies,” Bishop Johnston said. He encouraged all to receive Holy Communion as often as possible.

Participants were very moved by both Bishop Johnston’s words and the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Due to the large number of participants, and the time Bishop Johnston took to pray with each individual before administering the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, it took nearly forty-five minutes to complete that portion of the liturgy.

“Bishop Johnston’s homily was just amazing. I hope I never forget what he said. I think redemptive suffering is so important when you are in pain,” explained Marge Sanders.

“The Sacrament brought tears to my eyes,” said Barb Reinel.

Following the sacrament, participants were given holy water from Lourdes.

The Order of Malta was very pleased with the large turnout, and are grateful to help locals receive the outpouring of grace from the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.


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November 27, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph