There is a new ministry beginning at St. Sebastian. It involves people praying for those who are dying. They asked me to come up with some information that people should know about what Catholics need who are in the dying process. Here is the information that I gave them. It's good information to keep in your hip pocket.
Dying is one of the most important things we do in this life and often there is some amount of misunderstanding or even ignorance concerning what a Catholic should do at the hour of death. Most importantly, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is just that, for those who are ill. One of the desired effects of anointing is healing. Therefore anointing should never be put off until the hour of death especially in this age when getting hold of a priest is becoming more and more difficult. Rather, Viaticum (for the way), the giving of the Blessed Sacrament, is the proper sacrament for the dying.
If, however, the person who is anointed is in danger of death, the priest should offer the apostolic blessing with its attached indulgence. If the priest is not aware of the danger of the illness or should he forget, it might be good to ask for the apostolic blessing if death is an imminent reality.
From the Book of Indulgences, “But if a priest cannot be present, holy mother Church lovingly grants such person who are rightly disposed a plenary indulgence to be obtained in articulo mortis (at the approach of death) provided they regularly prayed in some way during their lifetime. The use of a crucifix or a cross is recommended in obtaining this plenary indulgence.” In this situation, they may receive a second indulgence in one day by special exemption.
For these reasons those all are encouraged to pray regularly, especially the sick and dying, that they might receive these special blessings.