Recently I announced to all of you to bring all the damaged or broken religious articles such as holy pictures, statues, rosaries, holy linens, holy cards, medallions, religious artcrafts, prayer books, etc. to be disposed of. Actually, I initiated it because a few of you have approached me with these damaged religious articles and asked what to do with them. So I decided to collect them and to bury them near our grotto.
I understand these objects of devotions have been blessed and they should not simply be discarded in the dustbin, but we should dispose of these items by burying or by burning them. When we Catholics buy any religious articles, we are accustomed to having the religious objects “blessed”. We believe that when these religious objects are blessed then they signify the permanent sanctification and sacredness.
The minute the religious objects are blessed and dedicated for divine worship or veneration, they must be treated with reverence and must not be used in either an improper or disrespectful way (cf. Code of Canon Law, no. 1171). I have seen some members who have left our Catholic faith simply discard these blessed objects without giving a proper reverence. We, Catholics give a lot of sentimental values to these objects no matter how small they are. We must treasure and value always these blessed religious articles and dispose of them in a proper manner if you no longer need them.
While I was sorting out all those blessed objects with my workers, Karijoe and Joseph, I found many valuable objects especially small prayer books and broken rosaries. I have collected all the rosary beads and will send them to my friends who can string rosary beads out of them. We have burnt some old Bibles and prayer books and buried the ashes reverently.
I realise the best prayer books are these tiny ones with very few pages which consist of the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” prayers, and other prayers such as Angelus, prayers before and after meal, prayer after the Holy Communion, praying to certain saints, prayer for protection, prayer to archangels, healing prayers, safe journey, etc. These short and simple composed prayers are very meaningful and easy to remember.
Some of the older generations are still practicing and reciting them without fail because they believe these prayers are defenses against their daily battle and provides protection against wickedness and evil. I still remember during my younger days when I used to keep prayer books in my pocket whenever I travelled and they had become the most important prayers in my life. Those prayers are still entrenched in our hearts and they are still fresh in our memories.
Over the years, these prayers are no longer recited these days because they are considered not so important prayers in life. However, anywhere you go, at any time, we can be sure these prayers will continue to assist us in our mission, as we ask God to take care of us and our children. May the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all the Saints, guard and guide us from all evil.
Fr. George Packiasamy.