Hey, Father! How does one dispose of blessed objects?

How does one dispose of blessed objects? Is there a place in the diocese that will accept these? If not, I need guidance on what to do with them.

– Kathy in our diocese

It is not an uncommon experience for a Catholic to acquire blessed objects, be they books, statues, pictures, medals, rosaries, etc. After a time, some of these accumulate in great number or may no longer be needed or wanted. This leads to Catholics to wonder what they can do with these blessed items.

Traditionally, the Church recognizes three options: they may be given away to another person who may benefit from them; they may be buried; or they may be burned. Blessed items are not to be sold; if they are sold, they automatically lose their blessing.

Blessed items should not be given away simply to be rid of them and to clear up space in the closet. When considering giving away a blessed object, it should be considered who might actually benefit from this item.

When burying blessed objects, they may be buried in a place where they are unlikely to be accidentally dug up. While the diocese does not have a program to accept blessed objects, some Catholic cemeteries or funeral homes may have reserved space for the burial of these items.

When burning blessed items, it should done quietly and reverently, in a way so as not to draw attention to what is done. Also, the same fire not ought to be used for roasting hot dogs or making s’mores. Should a blessed object unintentionally be broken, it may simply be discarded, though this should be done quietly.

Fr. Daren Zehnle is pastor at St. Augustine in Ashland and is the director for the Office of Divine Worship and the Catechumenate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.