Office of Spiritual Affairs

Healing Service Protocol1


Permission


  • Permission to conduct a Healing Service must be obtained from the Archbishop, through the Office of Spiritual Affairs.
  • The granting of permission for a Healing Service should not be assumed to be a general permission but only a single permission for a specific instance, time and place.
  • The granting of permission for a Healing Service does not also extend a simultaneous permission for “Deliverance Ministry”.

The Minister

  • When prayers for healing are organized in a church or other sacred place, it is appropriate that such prayers be led by an ordained minister.

  • Any member of the clergy or laity visiting the Archdiocese of Toronto from another Diocese who desires to lead a Healing Service in part or in whole, must follow the approval process outlined in the Archdiocesan Protocol for Visiting Clergy and Laity.
  • Those who direct Healing Services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical, are to strive to maintain a climate of peaceful devotion in the assembly and to exercise necessary prudence; if healings should take place among those present, when the celebration is over, any testimony can be collected with honesty and accuracy, and submitted to the proper ecclesiastical authority.

Ritual

  • Anything resembling hysteria, artificiality, theatricality or sensationalism, above all on the part of those who are in charge of such gatherings, must not take place.
  • It is absolutely forbidden to insert prayers of exorcism into the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Sacraments, or the Liturgy of the Hours.
  • The prayers of exorcism contained in the Rituale Romanum must remain separate from Healing Services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical.

  • Without prejudice to what is established in the norms regarding liturgical prayer or the celebration of prayers for the sick in the Church's liturgical books, prayers for healing, whether liturgical or non-liturgical, must not be introduced into the celebration of the Holy Mass, the Sacraments, or the Liturgy of the Hours.

  • The exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is to be avoided during Healing Services so that the danger is removed that the Eucharist becomes merely a means to an end.

  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation should be made available whenever Healing Services are conducted.

  • The Sacrament of Anointing should be avoided during Healing Services, unless there is a genuine need to anoint those who qualify for the sacrament, namely:

  • c. 1004 §1. The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age. §2 This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person, having recovered, again becomes gravely ill or if the condition becomes more grave during the same illness;
  • Only presbyters/bishops can anoint - c. 1003: §1. Every priest and a priest alone validly administers the anointing of the sick. §2. All priests to whom the care of souls has been entrusted have the duty and right of administering the anointing of the sick for the faithful entrusted to their pastoral office. For a reasonable cause, any other priest can administer this sacrament with at least the presumed consent of the priest mentioned above. §3. Any priest is permitted to carry blessed oil with him so that he is able to administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick in a case of necessity.

  • Ecclesiae de mysterio Art. 9 §1 "in no instance may the non-ordained perform anointings either with Oil of the Sick or any other oil … the priest is the only valid minister."
  • Anointing should never be administered in a general way to all present:

  • "all danger of the appearance of simulation of the sacrament [of anointing] must be averted" [Canon Law of the Sacraments for Parish Ministry, 201].

1 The protocol is based on a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Prayers for Healing (September 14, 2000).

Revised January 2019
Office of Spiritual Affairs

Download: Healing Service Protocol (PDF)