How Do You Properly Dispose of Broken Rosaries and Other Blessed Items?

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As Catholics, we commonly have religious items blessed, whether it be by a priest or bishop. When we have a rosary, crucifix, palm branch, or other item blessed it becomes permanently sanctified for a sacred purpose. However, over time statues and rosaries may become broken from use, or palm may naturally degrade. As we are called to show proper reverence for blessed objects, how do we properly dispose of them when damaged?

“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

In showing proper reverence, Catholic tradition simply states blessed items that are broken or damaged should be burned or buried. After an item has been burned, its ashes should also be buried. If the item does not disintegrate into the Earth, such as plastic, it is acceptable to break apart the item then discard it appropriately. In the case of votive candles, if it is safe to do so they should be burned completely.

The tradition of returning blessed items to the Earth stems from the idea that an object sanctified in God’s name should be returned to God, much like the way a person is buried and returned to the earth.

While the tradition of returning objects to the earth stems back thousands of years, in 1874 the Sacred Congregation for the Rites and the Holy Office issued formal determinations on what proper disposal methods are for blessed items. Any linen, vestment, or altar cloth should be burned and the ashes buried. Excess or contaminated Holy Water should be poured directly into the ground. Palms should be burned, and the ashes used for Ash Wednesday with the excess buried. Similarly, a rosary or statue would be buried.

Comments

36 COMMENTS

  1. “If the item does not disintegrate into the Earth, such as plastic, it is acceptable to break apart the item then discard it appropriately”
    Sorry, how do you discard the plastic and metal appropriately? My parish won’t take it, and I won’t bury it since it does not disintegrate (easily).
    Thanks

  2. I place a piece of blessed palm in my garden, buried by each row. Use to burn it in the fireplace, but now I can’t because it is gas.

  3. Thank you..very helpful article. Now i know what to do with my Rosary beads. I feel guilty throwing them so i jst keep them all these years.

  4. Please dont pollute the environment with your blantant lies!

    From an ex-catholic
    Reason i renounce this fake religion is when Father Nicholas Chia, SG Archbishop, cant even showed where in the bible that Jesus said He was the Son of God.

    • Stop misleading people please..if you are tired of worshiping with us just go in peace.. Stop dragging others along side with you

    • Jesus did not say it.. his actions said it, his way of life said it, his life fulfilled the prophecies, God the father said it when Jesus was baptized, then finally the apostles said it after witnessing His life. Jesus would never say “I am the Son of God, worship me” he was too humble, gentle, and meek though he could have been aggressive and demanding for He had all the power of God. I don’t think you truly were a catholic, a true catholic studies his faith, and their is no way a true catholic would leave the Holy Mother Church after learning Truth.

    • What a petty reason to lose faith. You have a Bible, read it if you are literate. Mediate upon the Word of God. Don’t be a fool

    • So before believing, you must see things appear or mentioned in the bible first?.. Is tahat so?

      You have a cellphone right? A smart tv, a laptop, or maybe a car, an ipad or ipod, or a usb stick, or a walkman, radio.? Im sure u have one of these.. Come on dont lie.. So why use any one of these when these are not even mentioned in the bible?

      Or why believe that catholicism is a Fake religion when the word “fake Catholicism” is nowhwere mentioned in the bible?

      You people that believe only things that appear in the bible do not make sense most of the time…

    • So you left cos of someone’s ignorance is obvious you are attending cos of human being, this is same way your decision and judgement will depend on people’s mistake.

    • Read the Gospel of John. Frequently called the “I AM” Gospel. Read Chapter 6 especially, on the discourse of the Bread of Life. And then of course see what happens in John 6:66-the teaching was TOO DIFFICULT, SO THEY TURNED AWAY. the number 666 ring a bell???

    • KJV John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am (God).”

      KJV John 10:36 lSay ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’”

      KJV John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”

      “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” -Stuart Chase

    • If you have now “found the truth” by leaving the Catholic Church, why are you so vile and angry? Those who are truly at peace (Jesus’ form of peace) do not lash out at others or use derogatory terms, but they do read Catholic literature, papers, etc. Why are you reading this article? What is inside you that draws you back to Catholicism?

      • BTW: The guy’s a troll, just seeking to create chaos, not even considering adding anything meaningful to the discussion. He failed miserably, praise Jesus. If you click on his “name”, the page is blank. Sick way to have fun.

  5. “If the item does not disintegrate into the Earth, such as plastic, it is acceptable to break apart the item then discard it appropriately.”
    Please kindly elaborate…discard appropriately..

  6. “If the item does not disintegrate into the Earth, such as plastic, it is acceptable to break apart the item then discard it appropriately.”

    How? thanks

    • Smash it. Bury the crumbs where they will not likely be unburied. You can keep tabs on its disintegration while you are in Heaven. Do the best you can if there is no way to give it away properly.

  7. Please elaborate “If the item does not disintegrate into the Earth, such as plastic, it is acceptable to break apart the item then discard it appropriately.”

    How? thanks

  8. Also consider donating broken rosaries that are still usable to religious communities that make/repair rosaries as part of their lively hood. I did. I found mine online. Thanks.

  9. The best thing to do with broken rosaries is to give them to JOE (that’s me!). I fix them and give them away. If you can’t give them to Joe, give them to someone else who fixes them as a hobby. Just ask around — we’re everywhere. Joe from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

  10. This would be a good annual event to hold in a parish. For several Sundays there could be a basket placed in a prominent position and parishioners told that they may place broken or torn religious or blessed items, along with old palms, into the basket. One of the parish groups could go through the basket to sort out, for example, rosaries that could be repaired and given away or sent to a group that could use them. The remaining items would be properly destroyed – burned/buried – in a ceremony one Sunday, so that parishioners could participate.

  11. Say I dropped some Holy Water on the floor, and I clean up with a napkin, but the napkin eventually dries up completely. What do I do with the napkin?

    • It would seem that since the Holy Water (as does regular water) completely departs the napkin through evaporation, you should be free to do with the napkin as you will. It is not as if the water chemically bonds with the napkin.

      Ponder his motivation but follow ye not Luther into coprophagia.

  12. You can find the answers to these questions in moral theology books. “Outlines of Moral Theology” by Connell and “Handbook of Moral Theology” by Prummer

  13. You can find the answers to these questions in moral theology books or ask a traditional priest . “Outlines of Moral Theology” by Connell and “Handbook of Moral Theology” by Prummer

  14. A crucifix necklace given to me at church when I completed RCIA 12 years ago. I already had one which I preferred; so what I did was to bury the crucifix part in the crook between two branches of a Scotch pine tree I often passed by during my weekend walks. The crook slowly enveloped the crucifix over the years, and it’s nice to think that it’s still there.

    And I have quite a few medals and crucifixes sent to me by religious orders seeking charitable donations, which I never seek to have blest by my pastor, and I don’t know if they were blessed before being sent to me; but not needing them whilst still wanting to dispose of them respectfully, I go down to the river and throw them in with a prayer.

    • not my decision, but wouldn’t it be better to d them to a charitable organization to give to people who want such items and cannot afford them? I sure hate to see things wasted … while so many go without.

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