Last Rites

Sacramental ministry to a dying Christian, which may include confession and absolution, laying on of hands, anointing (extreme unction), and communion. The dying received communion as viaticum, or sustenance for a journey, in accordance with ancient custom. The BCP provides forms for the Reconciliation of a Penitent (pp. 447-452), an order for Ministration to the Sick that includes the ministry of the word, laying on of hands and anointing, and Holy Communion (pp. 453-457). If communion is administered from the reserved sacrament, the form for Communion under Special Circumstances (pp. 396-399) is used. The BCP also provides a form for Ministration at the Time of Death, which includes a Litany at the Time of Death and prayers for a vigil (pp. 462-467). Prayers of commendation for the departed have been dated from the fourth century.