What are “Last Rites”? “Last Rites” is simply a compound-noun indicating the sacraments you hope to receive on your deathbed. First, the priest hears your confession. Then, you receive your final Holy Communion (aka Viaticum, literally “food for the journey.”) Then, the priest gives you “extreme unction” (a Latin/English compound-noun simply meaning “anointing at the extreme—or end—part of your life.”) After all of this, but before the Final Commendation of the Soul (of which I wrote about here for my mother) the dying person receives the Apostolic Pardon. (I also gave this to my mother, but didn’t write about it in the above-linked blog post because most of you already knew about it.)
But now, in retrospect, I realize I should have included it in the original blog post. This is because it is so powerful and beautiful (and important.) So, I include the words below. I prayed it over my mother a month ago in Latin (from the exact words of the Sacred Congregation before Vatican II.) However, the little old book I keep in my daily satchel for all emergencies (see picture above) also has the English translation from the diocese of Milwaukee in 1954.
The translation from Latin to English of the words of the Apostolic Pardon is this:
May Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, Who gave to Peter His Apostle the power to bind and to set free, receive, in His most loving mercy, your confession and give back to you that robe of grace which was first given to you in Baptism. And I, by the power given to me by the Apostolic See, grant you a full-pardon and the remission of all your sins, + in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Through the most sacred mysteries of the Redemption of the human race, may almighty God remit all the punishments due to you in this life and in the life to come. May He open to you the gates of heaven, and lead you into everlasting joy. Amen. May almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit bless you. Amen.