OSJ Last Rites

OSJ (UK) Emergency Measures:  Active

As a temporary emergency measure, in exceptional circumstances all OSJ (UK) members may provisionally and conditionally administer last rites on request in the event of a priest or licensed eucharistic minister being unavailable.

We may find ourselves in the presence of one who is dying and be asked if we can give last rites (viaticum).  We cannot refuse this request given that time may be very short.

There is no need to be afraid of giving last rites and there is a short form which can be conducted by any member of OSJ (UK) but it does need some preparation and it will be useful to read through the Emergency Measures webpage which deals with the practicalities and administration of communion in more detail.  

The administration of last rites has six distinctive parts.

Last Rites/Viaticum:

1. Penitential Rite:

This can take the form of a confession of sin or be simply asking the person awaiting or preparing for death to repeat after you:

Lord have mercy.          Response:  Lord have Mercy  (if it can be given)

Christ have mercy.        Response:  Christ have Mercy

Lord have mercy.          Response:  Lord have mercy

The Absolution:  (may be given in ecclesial absentium under active OSJ (UK) emergency measures)

May Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
strengthen you in all goodness, 
and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.


If you hear confession, it is to be held in priestly confidence.  Please read the page on 'OSJ Confidentiality'.

2Words of Comfort:  a suitable reading may follow: John 6:54-58, John 14:6; John 14:23; John 15:4; I Cor. 11:26; 1 John 4:16.

3. Ask the person to repeat the Apostles' Creed after you: it is a reminder of the basis of our faith.  If no credible response can be given, it may be read instead.

                                                                    The Apostles Creed


I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary
Under Pontius Pilate He was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

3. Prayer:  recite the Lord's Prayer.   Roman Catholics may request 'Hail Mary' to be included afterwards.

4. Communion: when the dying person is ready, communion may be offered. 

     It may be that they are unable to swallow and a wafer/host may be dipped in wine and touched on the lips of the person.  This is sufficient.

     Likewise, a very small piece of wafer or host may be placed on a spoon with a little wine and administered in that manner.

     If the elements need to be consecrated, and no priest is available, use the following form under our Emergency Measures policy:-  

      'Dear Father, may you bless, sanctify and make holy this bread and this wine, according to our need,' and make the sign of the cross over the elements.

"This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper."

Response: "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."  (if it can be given - if it cannot then say it for the person)


"The Body of Christ."  (offer the bread if the person is able to receive)

Response: "Amen."

"The Blood of Christ."  (offer the wine if the person is able to receive)

Response:  "Amen"

or (see italicised notes above)

"The body and blood of Christ."

Response:  "Amen"

5. Prayer for protection: after they have received communion, say: "May the Lord Jesus protect you and lead you to eternal life."   If you have consecrated oil, the person's forehead may be anointed.

6. Commendation/blessing/closing prayers:  conclude with prayer and blessing. using these or similar words:

We commend to you, O Lord! the soul of this your servant N, and beseech you, O Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the world,

that, as in your love for him/her, you became man, so now you would grant to admit him/her into the number of the blessed.


May all the Saints and Elect of God, who, on earth, suffered for the sake of Christ, intercede for him ( her) ; so that, when freed from the prison of his ( her) body, he ( she) may be admitted into the kingdom of heaven: through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end.  Amen.


May the blessing of God Almighty the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost descend upon you and remain with you

always. (A lay person would place his/her hand on the person or make the sign of the cross on himself.)  Amen.

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