viaticum (vĪătˈĭkəm) [key] [Lat., = provision for a journey], in the Roman Catholic Church, Communion given to the dying by a priest. Catholics are obliged to receive the viaticum if they are able and to procure it for others. The dying person is usually confessed before receiving the viaticum but need not be fasting. The confession, viaticum, and anointing of the sick are called the last rites of the church.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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