Do you pay a priest a contribution for anointing of the sick?

My grandmother is on her last 3 days. I’ve arranged to have a priest come to my aunts house tomorrow night for this sacrament. He is one of the priests who visits the hospital where I work. What is customary? Do we pay the priest a monetary contribution? If so, how much is etiquette?

you do not pay a fee for any sacrament anytime anyplace, the blessing and graces of the sacraments may not be sold. period, that is constant church teaching since the Acts of the Apostles, when Simon the magician tried to pay Peter for the ability to heal and cast out demons. To sell a sacrament or blessing is the crime of simony. What has always been customary is a donation to the priest for saying a Mass for a dead loved one, or for other sacraments. For most of church history this was the priest’s only means of support, unless he was part of a religious order. It is and always has been a donation (although sometimes called a stole fee, for the stole a priest wears to indicate his authority to confer the sacraments in Christ’s name). No doubt the custom led to abuses and misunderstandings at many times during history.

A donation is still customary, as you say more as a matter of etiquette, it is usually nominal, $5 or $10, more of a token. Sometimes more generous for a wedding (when it is also a generous gesture to give a little something to the altar servers). A reasonable amount might be the equivalent of his gas money to get to the hospital, for instance. He may very well refuse it, if that is diocesan policy, or suggest you give it to the poor. He is not being rude, just following policy.

Most dioceses have a policy priests must follow for such donations. If he is allowed to keep it for his own use, he declares it as personal income, he can put it in general parish funds to help cover expenses involved in sacraments: candles, holy oils, certificates, record-keeping etc., or give it to the poor. In any case these donations must be accounted for.

Hi Alex,

It is indeed customary to give an offering for masses, weddings, baptisms.

I never heard of a stipend for the Anointing of the Sick. Doesn’t sound right. I would not think of it.


No, it is customary to offer a stipend, (however never required) for Baptism, Marriage and funerals.

It is very good of you to remember to do this for your grandmother.