St. Louis, Mo., Nov 13, 2022 / 10:00 am
The bishops of the United States are set to vote this week to create a new book of prayers for the comfort and healing of the sick specifically designed for laypeople to use.
Father Andrew Menke, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship, told CNA that he hopes the potential new prayer book will be helpful for laypeople who want to minister to the sick, especially when a priest is unavailable.
Only priests are allowed to perform the sacrament of anointing of the sick, which can be administered whether or not the sick person is in danger of death with the hoped-for effect of physical and spiritual healing. But there are several liturgical books — including the book used for the anointing of the sick — that include material that is specifically designed to be used by laypeople when a priest isn’t available, Menke noted.
The book that the bishops are voting to create will be a compilation of those prayers, drawn from multiple sources traditionally used in ministry to the sick, he said.