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Dom DeLorenzo wrote:

Hi, guys —

My grandma just passed away last night and I've been thinking of her all day. I haven't been able to be as happy, normal and cheery as I usually am.

She was anointed and I know she's in Heaven right now but it just hurts not having her, especially since she lived with me.

Please tell me how God can comfort me or any way I can be comforted; this emotional pain is killing me.

  • Also, as a side note, what grants a priest the power to anoint the sick and absolve people of all their sins, just like that?

Thank you so much for being here in my time of pain.



  { How can God comfort me in this time of loss and what grants priests the sacramental power? }

Mary Ann replied:

Dear Dom,

We hope your grandmother is in Heaven, but we don't know that. She may be in Heaven's anteroom, Purgatory, being purified to enter into the presence of God. That is why we pray for the faithful departed, as Scripture recommends; our prayers help their purification process and moves them into Heaven more quickly.

As for your grief, it is right, good and natural to grieve; to have honest sorrow for your loss.
You can offer the suffering for your grandmother, and it will help her. The time of grief will pass, and even while you are grieving, you will have a joyful hope for your grandmother.

Anointing is for healing the body, the mind, and the soul:

  • the body with strength and cure at times
  • the mind with strength and peace to face suffering and death, and
  • the soul by offering God's forgiveness to the repentant.

It is a great gift to receive at the hour of sickness or the hour of death. Be glad of it.


Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Dear Dom,

I'm sorry to hear about your Grandma passing; I will keep her in my prayers.

You said:

  • Also, as a side note, what grants a priest the power to anoint the sick and absolve people of all their sins, just like that?

The short answer: Jesus working through His Church and His Sacraments!

A holy priest will always be a humble priest and never view his ordination as receiving a power,
in the secular sense.

There are only three sacraments that place a mark on a person's soul:

  • the one a person receives at Baptism
  • the one a person receives at Confirmation, and
  • the one a man receives at Holy Orders

This portion from the Catechism may give you a better understanding of the Catholic priesthood:
(Note: CCC 1563)

The ordination of priests - co-workers of the bishops.

1562 "Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the world, has, through his Apostles, made their successors, the bishops namely, sharers in his consecration and mission; and these, in their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of the Church with the office of their ministry." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 28; cf. John 10:36)

"The function of the bishops' ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcopal order for the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ."
(Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis 2 § 2)

1563 "Because it is joined with the episcopal order the office of priests shares in the authority by which Christ himself builds up and sanctifies and rules his Body. Hence the priesthood of priests, while presupposing the sacraments of initiation, is nevertheless conferred by its own particular sacrament.

Through that sacrament priests by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head."
(Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis 2)

1564 "Whilst not having the supreme degree of the pontifical office, and notwithstanding the fact that they depend on the bishops in the exercise of their own proper power, the priests are for all that associated with them by reason of their sacerdotal dignity; and in virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, after the image of Christ, the supreme and eternal priest, they are consecrated in order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 28 cf. Hebrews 5:1-10; 7:24; 9:11-28; Innocent I, Epist. ad Decentium:PL 20,554A; St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 2,22)

1565 Through the sacrament of Holy Orders priests share in the universal dimensions of the mission that Christ entrusted to the Apostles. The spiritual gift they have received in ordination prepares them, not for a limited and restricted mission, "but for the fullest, in fact the universal mission of salvation 'to the end of the earth,"' (Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis 10; Vatican II, Optatam Totius 20; cf. Acts 1:8) "prepared in spirit to preach the Gospel everywhere." (Vatican II, Optatam Totius 20)

1566 "It is in the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful (synaxis) that they exercise in a supreme degree their sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 28; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:26) From this unique sacrifice their whole priestly ministry draws its strength. (cf. Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis 2)

1567 "The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is true, to a variety of distinct duties. In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 28 § 2) priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. The promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.

1568 "All priests, who are constituted in the order of priesthood by the sacrament of Order, are bound together by an intimate sacramental brotherhood, but in a special way they form one priestly body in the diocese to which they are attached under their own bishop. . . ." (Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis 8) The unity of the presbyterium finds liturgical expression in the custom of the presbyters' imposing hands, after the bishop, during the rite of ordination.

Whenever a priest administers any of the sacraments, Jesus, who was a Man, is using the body of the priest, also a man, to administer the sacrament, and its corresponding sacramental grace,
so know that when your mother was anointed, it was Our Lord Jesus doing the anointing, through the priest.

Hope this helps,


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