Special Response to Question – Disposal of Palms
At the regularly scheduled Assembly Meeting of July 23, 2019, the question was asked: “how to properly dispose of old Palms received at previous Palm Sunday celebrations”?
Code of Canon Law  1170 states:
Canon 1171 Sacred objects, set aside for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated with reverence. They are not to be made over to secular or inappropriate use, even though they may belong to private persons.
The code and its related commentary do not provide additional guidance for the process. However, it is common practice to dispose of holy items by returning them to nature. Items may be buried or burned and the ashes spread outside in an area with limited [foot] traffic, e.g. a garden area or under a tree.
Similar treatment is suggested for other items: rosaries, relics, books, etc. having special religious significance because of the special Blessings provided for reverence.
Active parish churches contain a special sink called a ‘Sacrarium’ for disposing of holy water, oils, dissolved hosts and the precious blood [if not consumed at the liturgy]. The Sacrarium is plumbed to enter the ground, not the general plumbing system. Items, such as oils should normally be burned.
Since the question was asked in context with the “burning of the flags” ceremony, it would seem to be appropriate that palms no longer being used as signs of Catholic reverence in Knights homes and their respective parishes do not have a formal process for collecting them and using them for Ash Wednesday distribution, it is recommended that brother Knights bring ‘said’ palms to the “burning of the flags” ceremony and be co-mingled with the flags residue since the residue will be appropriately disposed in a reverent manner.
Since the assembly will have one more meeting before the Flag event, it is suggested that the members of the different parishes check with their parish offices to determine “local practice”.
Bring your specific details to the next meeting or email Deacon Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org