Prayers For The Dying
And Extreme Unction

Extreme Unction - The Last RitesExtreme Unction And Prayers For The Dying

Printable Prayers For The Dying

When death is near you want to have everything ready. What's most important is the Catholic sacrament.

  • Call the priest and emergency personnel. Use cell phones to do both at the same time if possible.
  • Say the Act of Contrition with the patient or for the patient.
  • Take care of the patient, doing what emergency personnel advise.
  • Prepare to have the priest to administer the Last Rites if possible.
  • Pray the devotions like the Rosary and the Brown Scapular prayer. 
  • Call and email others to pray and help, too.
  • When death is near, pray the Prayers for the Dying. See below for a printable and an online version.

I'll tell a few stories below and show you a handy kit that you can put together ahead of time. 

Also we've copied the Catholic Prayers for the Dying  so that you can print them or use them at the bedside on your phone or tablet.

Of the three versions I've heard or read, this one includes more traditional prayers and more consoling comfort to the dying person.

Catholic Baltimore Catechism Definition of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction:

"Extreme Unction is the sacrament which, through the anointing and prayer of the priest, gives health and strength to the soul, and sometimes to the body, when we are in danger of death from sickness, accident or old age." ~St. Anne's Helper Catholic Confirmation Catechism #15

Don't wait! Call a priest as soon as possible. Time may be of the essence.

Oh, that dread and awesome moment. A danger of death is the time to administer Last Rites. It might also be the last moment.

Prayers For The Dying & Kit

Printable Catholic Prayers For Dying Booklet - Prints two of the same booklets.2 Printable Booklets: Catholic Prayers for the Dying

Prayers For The Dying

Say the Perfect Act of Contrition with the patient.

Click on the text links or images to print or view the Prayers:

Printable

Printable PDF Prayers – Booklet format:

* Print double sided 

* Cut in half for two booklets.

* Image of Crucifix on back for patient to view. 

Online/Mobile

Mobile PDF Prayers – Bookmark on your phone. Great for:

*Priests,

*Doctors,

*Nurses, and others who tend the sick.

Prayers For The Dying and Emergency Kit with Rosary, Scapulars, Catholic medals, and Crucifix.Prayers For The Dying and Extreme Unction Kit: This booklet had been my father's.

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Keep this Catholic Extreme Unction Kit Handy:

Gather these items into a ziplock bag:

Praying When Someone Is Dying

Our own family's stories are the reason that we want to share the idea behind the following packet. Add your favorites or your special devotions for your loved one.

  • I keep mine in a small zip lock bag in a drawer near the front door
  • Print several booklets for family and friends especially those whose loved ones are in danger of death. 
  • Print an extra for yourself that to leave at the hospital or another's home.

In the Prayers for the Dying there is a prayer that is specifically prayed at the Last Agony. If death might happen while you are away, be encouraged to say these prayers before you leave.

They are good to pray before or when the doctors remove a respirator.

  • Hearing is the last sense to fail. If the place requires quiet as in the Intensive Care Unit, say the prayers quietly yet close to the patient's ear so he can also hear you. 
  • Be serious, but not too intent. Keep vigil.
  • Visit and comfort the patient even if he seems unable to understand.

Devotions For The Dying

It is also helpful to suggest the devotions that the sick person might not remember, and to help him or her to pray them.

  • Ask if the patient has had the devotion to Our Lady in the Brown Scapular having received communion on the five First Fridays. Provide one if you can.
  • When someone is dying or if the ailing person is older or otherwise compromised, have a child's Rosary handy as it can be easier for the dying person to use. The larger beads are much easier to navigate, and the longer length is not so easy to lose in the covers. Actually these are handy for any of us who are ill.
  • If the person has a computer, phone, or tablet let them know that they can run videos of the Rosary to make it easier to pray the Rosary when family and friends are not present to lead the prayers.
  • If you will be keeping an extra Brown Scapular, cloth, cotton balls, and instruction sheet in your Sick Call set, put them in a small plastic bag as the beeswax candles can stain these over time.
  • You can add an extra Brown Scapular in an additional plastic packet and a Rosary as well if you have space.
  • Add the parish priest or Extreme Unction phone number, too. I wrote our numbers on the white place on our zip lock bag. 
  • Add these numbers and your emergency numbers to your cell phone, too. 

St. Joseph and St. Benedict are patrons for a holy death.

You can also include other items like extra scapulars or a scapular medal (not allowed in X-ray type situations); a Miraculous Medal; a St. Benedict Medal; the St. Philomena oil, cord, scapular, and booklet; the Pardon Crucifix with pamphlet; as well as other devotions and chaplets.

Quick prayers for the dying:

  • O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. (Miraculous Medal)
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen. (Green Scapular - especially for conversion and impossible cases)
  • St. Joseph, pray for us.
  • St. Benedict, pray for us. (St. Benedict medal)

Keep pictures of Jesus, Mary, and the saints where the patient can see them.

St. Joseph is Patron of the Dying and there are more St. Joseph prayers for the dying here.

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Preparing for Extreme Unction

My brothers and sisters and I have had the great grace to have been able to assist at the well provided deaths of our parents and two siblings.

We have a lot to share, hoping and praying that you and yours will also have the great grace of a holy death.

You can make and share the above packet with family and friends so they have these treasures ready for you and yours. 

Below I show the directions from an old pre-1960s Sick Call set and another with more ideas.

In an emergency, call 911 and your priest. There's nothing like the stories of priests who have arrived before the ambulance. They're awesome to read.

It happens often now, too, because someone can call 911 because cell phones are so prevalent now. Many parishes have a number dedicated to sick calls that the designated priest carries with him.

There's no more exciting story and no more consoling truth than to know that the priest was able to administer Extreme Unction. My brother's story shows the priest in action in an emergency. See it below.

These are also great notes to read and discuss with your older children and to send to family and friends. Be sure your children know where you store your devotionals and The Prayers for the Dying.

Instructions For Using A Sick Call Set

See the instructions for a Sick Call set below these images of two different Sick Call sets.

Antique Sacred Heart Sick Call Set

We keep this family heirloom in our living room so as to honor the Sacred Heart and to keep the Sick Call set handy.

This next Sick Call set photo shows the set prepared for Father to come.

This is an antique, so the original candles that fit in the statue base are dark. I would use the new candles for the actual sacrament.

Preparing For The Last Rites

This next image is a close up.

Sacred Heart Sick Call Set - Arranged for Extreme Unction

This next picture shows the back panel in the antique Sick Call statue. Pretty neat hideaway.

Sick Call Set for Extreme Unction - Crucifix, Candles, Holy Water

Crucifix Sick Call Set

This Crucifix Sick Call set is also in our living room.

It is a great focus for daily Rosary.

The Crucifix slides open to reveal the compartment that holds

  • Candles
  • Cotton
  • Holy Water bottle
  • Instructions

The back side of the Cross holds the Crucifix like a stand and has candle holders, too.

A Sick Call Set has much of what is needed for the Last Rites.

How to open or replace the Crucifix on a Sick Call set.

There's a track on both the Cross base and the Crucifix itself that fit together. Slide them together from the top.

Then rehang it on the wall where the patient can see it.

Cross Sick Call Set - The front cross slides off the rest of the cross and the candles and holy water are in the compartment.

Sick Call set up: Here is the Crucifix mounted in its base with the candles in their holder and Holy Water waiting.

See more ideas below.

How To Set Up A Sick Call Set - Directions are included.

Preparing For The Priest

Usually, the priest brings most of what he will need; yet if, as in my father's case, there is plenty of time, you can set up the table, Crucifix, candles, cotton balls, glass of water, spoon, and bread ahead of time.  

For your convenience, we've copied notes from the instructions that were in our old Sick Call sets and the instructions from the set that my parents gave us for our wedding. They're different and both had good ideas.

I'm also including notes that were in the Prayers for the Dying booklet. There are notes for both cases:

  • emergency and 
  • no emergency. 

In an emergency, Father will have everything.

When there is no emergency you prepare the table, room, and house. Make all as nice as possible for Father, especially if he is bringing the Viaticum - or Blessed Sacrament.

You can also invite family, friends, and neighbors. The more prayers the better and this is a great way to teach others how you would like to be treated.


Preparing For Catholic Extreme Unction

Extreme Unction is a special part of the Church's ministry to the sick and should not be postponed either until a person is very near to death, or until a medical emergency arises in his life.

It is appropriate for this Sacrament to be administered in many different kinds of situations.

  • A sick person should be anointed before surgery whenever a dangerous illness is the reason to have surgery. 
  • Old people may be anointed if they are in weak condition although no dangerous illness is present. 
  • Sick children may be anointed if they have received the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist or have sufficient use of reason to be comforted by the Sacrament. 
  • The Sacrament may be repeated if the sick person recovers after anointing or if, during the same illness, the danger becomes more serious (e.g. advancing terminal disease).

Helping the sick persevere to the end is a victorious Corporal Work of Mercy.

Be encouraged. If the wait and the work are long and hard, you will be glad for every prayer and every effort you spend in helping someone get to Heaven.

Printable Directions For A Sick Call Set And The Last Rights

See and print: "Preparing for Last Rites" for your Sick Call set or to keep with your Prayers for the Dying booklets.

Remember to say the Act of Contrition and other prayers often with the patient.

If you're reading this ahead of time, you can print this to keep near or in your Sick Call set.

See the very same online text below this image link to the printable PDF:

Printable List for Preparing for the Last Rites Sheet

Preparing for Last Rites In An Emergency Or During Serious Illness

After calling the doctor, 911, or an ambulance if that is appropriate, notify your parish priest immediately. Use cell phones to call all at the same time if others are able to help.

Be ready to tell the priest much of the same information that the ambulance will need to know: the person's name, complete address, age, relationship with those with whom he lives, and describe to the best of your ability the nature of the illness. If there is a possibility that the patient will be moved quickly by ambulance to a hospital, tell the priest. Be sure to tell the priest whether or not the patient is conscious. Stay in contact with him by cell phone if you can.

If the person has become ill while not in bed (collapsed, fallen, etc.), ask the doctor or 911 what should be done. Extreme caution should be taken in attempting to move the one in danger of death. Decisions regarding moving should be left to medical personnel (doctor, rescue team, ambulance crew, etc.)

While awaiting the arrival of the priest and taking care of the patient, those present should predispose the patient (if possible) for receiving the sacraments by prayer and reflection. They should help the patient to pray as much as possible and they themselves should pray as much as is possible.

If there is enough time, a table should be prepared with a clean covering. On the table there should be a crucifix, two lighted candles, a container with holy water, and, if the patient is able to receive Communion, a glass of water and a spoon. If the priest uses cotton to wipe his fingers after anointing, the cotton should be destroyed by fire at a later time.

On a small table, which is situated so as to be seen by the patient, and covered with fresh linen, place the Sick Call Set and have the crucifix inserted in a slot at top of the base. Place a Sacramental candle in each candle stick holder. Also, have on the table a glass of water, a spoon, the communion cloth, and the bottle which is supplied, filled with Holy water."

If the Sacrament of Extreme Unction is to be administered, a member of the family should meet the priest at the door with a lighted candle, and conduct him to the sick room. If Father has the Blessed Sacrament for Holy Viaticum, all should kneel in respectful silence as Father enters until he passes. In addition to the above, have a small plate containing crumbs of bread, and make up five small balls with the absorbent cotton furnished in the set.

If conditions permit, the patient should be given time for Confession and private conversation with the priest. Otherwise it is appropriate for family and others to be present during the Sacraments to pray, to show the concern of the Church, and to show their care.

When the priest leaves, he should be escorted to the door in the same manner as he was received. Kneeling is not necessary if Father no longer carries the Blessed Sacrament.

During A Serious Illness– Not An Emergency

Much the same as above:  Flowers and devotions can cheer and prepare the patient for prayer.

All present should by prayer and reflection, predispose themselves priest's arrival and the patient's reception of the Sacraments. An atmosphere of quiet and preparedness should prevail when the priest arrives. If Extreme Unction is to be administered, the patient should have been bathed, with particular care to cleanse the places of anointing.

When a person is confined at home because of any infirmity, notify the parish priest as soon as possible. Tell him the person's name, complete address, age, relationship with those with whom he lives, and describe to the best of your ability the nature of his infirmity.

During the time when the person is confined, it is appropriate to request the Sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance, or Extreme Unction, or all. The propriety of time and occasion should be discussed with the priest depending on how serious the illness is.

Except for times when the patient desires time for Confession and private conversation with the priest, meaningful people in the patient's life should be encouraged to be present. Such people would be family, friends, health care professionals, representatives of the parish community, and the person's place of work.

See and print this same "Preparing for Last Rites" and add it to your Sick Call set. It's where I found mine.

Baptizing The Dying In An Emergency

It is very important to Baptize in case of necessity. It is the sacrament that gives us a right to Heaven.

Baptizing The Unconscious In An Emergency

Call Father and 911 as soon as possible.

If you come upon an emergency where the victim is unconscious, there is danger of death, and

  • You do not know whether he or she is baptized and 
  • You do not have time to consult a priest or relatives, 
  • You can and should conditionally baptize. 

Better safe than sorry.

Immediately say the Act of Contrition so the person could hear you if his or her hearing is still intact. This way, if the person is already baptized, you have done the most important things in the time till the priest arrives in case the person is Catholic and needs to supply for his venial sins and mortal sins till he can get to sacramental confession.

You can also give the person your scapular and devotionals if it is possible.

This situation is true for children, too, especially for doctors, nurses, midwives and other attendants at births.

Baptizing The Conscious In An Emergency

A special case is when someone is dying and is conscious who wants to become Catholic.

Try to get a good priest to give instruction, Baptism, and the other sacraments if there is time, otherwise you should baptize the person if he or she wishes.

Baptism is the first and most important sacrament.

Manner In Which A Lay Person Is To
Baptize in Case Of Necessity

Pour common water on the person's head, and say while pouring it: 

   "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

N.B. Any person of either sex who has reached the use of reason can baptize in case of necessity, but the same person must say the words while pouring the water.

-From TAN Books' Baltimore Catechism, No. 2, p. 4

Death Of A Loved One

My Mother's Death: Confession And Extreme Unction Just In Time

Dad was heroic when dealing with my mother's death. He stayed with Mom through it all. He knew that her plight was dangerous.

When the hospital was sending her to the larger hospital for surgery he called the priest to come.

At first, the priest would not come because the doctors had put him off saying that there was little danger, just a kink in the colon.

Then Father's Guardian Angel did his part and Father made it to the gurney right before she was put in the ambulance, her last lucid moments.

Next? The new doctor did his best to let Dad know, without saying explicitly, that she might die on the table. God is good to have sent the priest in time.

This is when we first read this beautiful Prayers for the Dying booklet.

Dad had kept it on hand and given us each a photocopy to keep close. This is where I got the idea to keep a collection of all of the things I might quickly need in case of emergency.

His provision and care for Mom is a very good memory for me.

My Mother – The Brown Scapular, Rosary,  And The Prayers For The Dying

Monday. Dad had everything on hand. Before Mom's surgery my Dad and my husband both had made it plain to the doctor and several staff members that Mom's Brown Scapular was to remain. The staff agreed several times.

Guess what? Snip!

Dad followed the gurney only able to tie it on her foot.

It's okay.

We knew that it was her life long devotion that counted, but Dad was also going to do his best. He was able to replace it over her shoulders after the surgery.

Wednesday evening two of my sisters arrived to give Dad a break for the evening. He intended only to go home for a nap.

As soon as he arrived home my sisters called him to tell him that Mom had taken a seriously worse turn.

He called one of us who called the rest of us so that all our local adult siblings and several spouses arrived in stages behind him.

Those next hours Dad led us in praying the Mysteries of the Rosary with only a break to greet arriving family and to say the Prayers for the Dying.

She died shortly after midnight during one of the Glorious Mysteries and surrounded by her praying family.

Dad had had a copy of the traditional Prayers for the Dying in a little pamphlet. It has beautiful traditional prayers. It was so nice not to have to hold a heavy prayer book.

We wanted to have that booklet ourselves, so Dad copied it for each of us to have a copy. 

We've copied it to a PDF printable so that you can have the very same prayers. You can also use it from your phone.

My Father's Death - Extreme Unction More Than Once

Dad had given us a super good example.

He'd had over 40 years of colon trouble, a life time really.

The last couple of years were really rough, but he pulled through for a time and even regained most of his weight before his final battle.

At one point before he made a long trip to seek better care and he was able to ask his priest to give Extreme Unction before the trip.

He invited all of us family who were local to be there and to pray. It was beautiful.

He and Father were private for Dad's confession, but we and our children were all able to be there to see him receive the other sacraments. Father was good to explain everything in English and allow space for the children to see.

A few months later Dad was strong enough for another surgery.

The Sunday night after the surgery our sister-in-law was keeping watch with Dad and saw that his condition had changed and was worse.

He had congestive heart failure, a different affliction,  so the priest was called and family was called at the same time.

Because of Dad's example with Mom, more of us were there praying with and for Dad.

Father stayed right up till time to leave for Monday morning's early Mass.

He wanted to stay as the death of a father is an important moment and he wanted to be sure to be there if he was needed; but he saw that we would all continue praying and that he could say Mass for Dad.

We wanted him to offer Mass and we felt that Dad would have wanted the very same thing. 

So, Father not only offered Mass for Dad, he also posted notes in several places for people to see his intention for that Mass. A Mass and so many people praying at the very moments Dad died! Deo gratias!

Father was also good to remind us to have Masses offered on our father's death anniversary. 

My Dad - The Brown Scapular, Rosary, And The Prayers For The Dying

Of course, there was plenty of time to have made sure that Dad had his Scapular. We did the same as he had shown us to do with Mom.

We prayed the Rosary and the Prayers for the Dying.

Father had been using his prayer book which was a large book. He'd  already said the prayers in Latin and when we offered the pamphlet he was glad to have had the smaller format of the same words in English.

We let him keep it as several of us had had our own copies and we could make more. What an honor to be able to give him the booklet so as to be able to comfort other people. Many graces....

Our Sister's Death - Extreme Unction Several Times

My sister had had the Last Rites several weeks previous to her death at 50.

Near the end, as the hospital realized that my sister's situation had changed, they quickly called the ambulance to convey her to a better qualified hospital.

This time it was my turn to sound the alarm. By the grace of God, a wonderful Catholic nurse was there to let me know that since my sister's condition had changed, she could receive the sacraments again.

What a comfort! I am so grateful she was there.

I called my sister's priest at that moment and, later, at the same time as the ambulance was driving away he called back. In spite of his being new to the area, he had already arrived at the larger hospital in the next city! Priests can be true heroes!

The large hospital told him that she had checked out three days earlier, so he had to double check that she would actually be there and that he was in the right place.

I shared that they truly were really coming as were more family. Thank God for cell phones. He was good to wait and to stay till all was in good order.

Again, these were her last more lucid moments.

Just a day later, she wrote her last words, "Hi pain."

Father was there several times in the next twelve days to help her and to console her family. Both he and the Rector were there for her on the day of her death.

Her condition must have changed again and the Rector is the one who gave her Extreme Unction again. Three times in just two months. What a consolation! So many signs of the power of prayer.

My Sister - The Brown Scapular, Rosary, And The Prayers For The Dying

This time we had had more time to gather devotionals. By her last day she had

  • the Brown Scapular, 
  • the St. Benedict medal, 
  • the Miraculous Medal, and 
  • the St. Philomena cord, oil, and scapular. 

Both her family and friends were able to visit, although she was unable to respond. 

We were able to use emails to keep the family informed as to her difficulty. In the end, she had all these prayers and devotions.

We had been able to be with her all day repeating the Rosary, the Prayers for the Dying, and the Acts of Contrition, Faith, Hope, and Charity every hour. (That can be a trick, but the staff knew us by that time.) 

When they removed the respirator late that Friday night, fifteen of us were there praying.

We said another Rosary after she expired and prayed another on the way home at nearly midnight Saturday.

I hope you and I are so well provided in our last hours.

My Brother's Death - Extreme Unction In An Emergency

Perhaps this is one too many stories, but it is an excellent example of God's providence before, during, and after an emergency. 

Four months after my sister's death, the Friday morning before the week of Christmas, my brother reached overhead for a key and dropped unconscious at 52.

He and his good wife had had thirteen children, most of whom were home at the time.

His two daughters who are nurses were right there to perform CPR and to call the ambulance and priest. Two nurses and several phones!

His sons were at church getting ready to serve the late morning Mass. Again, because of the cell phones, one son was able to get another priest and ride with him to direct him to their home in record time. The other was able to go with his mother straight to the hospital.

Meanwhile Father was able to give Extreme Unction before the EMTs loaded our brother into the ambulance.

Yet another son drove Father's car behind the ambulance while Father read the Prayers for the Dying, with the rest of the family following in yet another car.  Father stayed with the family till it was certain that the doctors could do no more and my brother's whole family was there praying as more and more relatives arrived and joined in praying.

My Brother - The Prayers For The Dying, Rosaries, and the Scapular

On her way to the hospital his wife had called to tell us the danger.

We called each other, and emailed out of town family and friends asking for prayers. God bless email!

Most of our local family members were at the hospital within two hours and we prayed all through the day, the same as we had with my sister. 

Another of our priests arrived in the evening for two hours to console the family and to lead the Prayers for the Dying and the Rosary.

When the respirator was removed late that evening, there were twenty five of us there and praying. We are all so grateful to have been able to witness his well provided death. God is good. 

This time not only cell phones but also email was a big help in gaining more prayers at the time and later a full church at the Rosary and the Funeral Mass. Many cell phones were a giant help in keeping the long distance family informed and praying. 

Popular Prayers For The Dying

I am so happy to have had that booklet these several times that I just want to share that with the whole world! It is so good to be prepared and yet, it is hard to think ahead of time, "Well, what would I want to have handy?"

Hopefully the ideas on this page help you or your loved ones to have a well provided death, meaning all the sacraments and prayers.

The kindergarten teacher here taught our little ones to pray for all those who are near death. I was so delighted to hear that as my mother used to call us to request the very same intention, "Please ask the little ones to pray...." Be sure you do the same, because it was wonderful that we had children praying, they who are so close to God.

These are the great joys of keeping and living the Faith! I really am very happy. This might look like a mushy story, but a good end is sooooo good. To tears of gratitude.

Fight to do all you can for someone at that most awesome moment, there's nothing like the victory of final perseverance.

I could rejoice for an hour. I take praying for those near death seriously and I really hope that others will do the same for me and mine, you and yours.

May God grant us each a holy death!

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Anything you share to help others in this way earns grace as the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. :-)

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Printable Prayers For The Dying Catholic - Crucifix Sick Call Set for Extreme Unction.May God grant that someone prays the Prayers For The Dying for each of us!