Radio Show

Is It Okay to Throw Away Sacramentals?


A listener named Megan calls into the show and asks, “Is it okay to throw away sacramentals that are sent in the mail?” Megan shares that she receives quite a few religious medals, prayer cards, and other sacramentals in the mail from religious organizations that are fundraising and wonders if it’s okay to dispose of them.

Sacramentals are sacred signs or objects that remind us of the Sacraments and God’s grace. Father Dave explains that they are “ways that we can enact our faith sacramentally. Meaning that through our senses, we can perceive the imperceivable and come in contact with the divine and experience grace not just through the seven Sacraments, but in all these little ways.”

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He says that it’s okay to throw away the items Megan receives in the mail unless they are blessed. In that case, you should either burn or bury the items to honor their sacred purpose. If you can’t do either of those, return them to your local parish.  

Father Dave points out that the religious orders and nonprofits that send these sacramentals to supporters in the mail know that there is a chance they may be disposed of by the person receiving them. “Most fundraisers know that the stats are in a single-digit percentage of those that actually open the mailing and send back a donation,” Father Dave says. He tells Megan not to feel guilty for disposing of them because she didn’t request for them to be sent. Original Air 7-17-19