Properly Dispose of Sacramentals and Blessed Items
“Sacred objects, which are designated for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated reverently and are not to be employed for profane or inappropriate use even if they are owned by private persons.” (Code of Canon Law, 1171)
Never Throw Religious Objects in the Trash!
Sacramentals have a sacred purpose in supporting our journey to heaven and physically signify our devotion to Jesus and Mary. Through the intercession of the Church, sacramentals supply special graces and dispose us to cooperate with them. This is why the Church asks us to handle them with reverence, even in the process of disposal.
While all religious items should be treated with respect, when a religious object is blessed, it deserves a special reverence. Whether it is a marred garden statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary or a weathered St. Francis medal, any item that incurs a direct blessing from a priest is forever raised to a new level of spiritual significance. It would be inappropriate to throw these holy items in the trash!
Most Catholics know innately that the trash bin is not the place for blessed objects. But without guidance on their correct disposal, old and broken sacramentals tend to accumulate in a drawer or closet—never to be used again, but unable to be thrown away. Finally, we have the clear answers you need to lay them to rest!
Steps to Dispose of Religious Items
Follow these simple steps to dispose of your blessed items, broken rosaries, and other sacramentals that are worn beyond the possibility of continued use:
- The best way to dispose of religious objects is to burn them to ash. This includes anything flammable such as a cord rosary, Palm Sunday palms, or a blessed image printed on canvas. Then, collect the ashes and bury them, preferably on church grounds or in a Catholic cemetery.
- If you are unable to burn your religious items, they should be disassembled as much as possible and reverently buried. That way they cannot be used for a profane purpose if uncovered in the future. This is how you would dispose of a rosary with beads or a metal chain.
- Broken statues and worn medals cannot be disassembled further, so these are generally laid to rest whole. Holy water should be poured directly into the ground. Again, this is preferably done on church grounds or in a Catholic cemetery.
- If unable to burn or bury, reach out to your parish office. Parish staff are trained to collect these items and will dispose of them properly.
Sacramentals Should Last a Lifetime
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