Blessed Palms and Ash Wednesday

I figured I better not leave this question for Shrove Tuesday…

I have some blessed palms from last Palm Sunday. What should I do with them now that Lent is approaching?

Should I burn them on Ash Wednesday? If so, what should I do with the ashes?

BTW, I live in an apartment building. I’m not sure where I could bury ashes, if needs be.

Any thoughts?


I think you can give them to your local parish to be burned and used on Ash Wednesday

That’s exactly how a lot of parishes get the ashes for Ash Wednesday. Ask your priest.

You could burn them.

You could also break them up into small pieces and simply “return” them to the earth. There’s nothing wrong with simply burying them in a small plot of ground (like the grass next to the sidewalk)–it doesn’t have to be deep. I’m sure that wherever you live, there must be some kind of park or garden. Break them up and scatter them underneath a bush–this isn’t sacrilegious because you would simply be returning the palm branches to their natural state and letting them “fertilize” the bush.

If you do burn them, you could always scatter the ashes beneath a bush in a park.

This is an interesting question and one that I had never thought about. It seems to imply that the blessed palms only retain the efficacy of the blessing for one year. Is this true?
I still have a palm frond from a Palm Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica way back in the early 1970’s that hangs above the Crucifix in my bedroom. Amazingly it is still in excellent condition and I have no intention of burning it or burying it. I do usually bury the palms in my garden but not each year at the beginning of Lent.

Like anything else, once they’re blessed, they are always blessed (unless something happens to “remove” the blessing) but time itself doesn’t make the blessing “expire.” Once burned, or shredded, they are no longer palms–that’s what “removes” the blessing from them.

Any blessed item retains its blessing until it is either relegated to secular use or destroyed. So no, it is not the blessing that is lost over the course of one year but rather, the verdancy of the palm fronds; the once supple, green leaves in a year’s time turn faded and dry out.

This traditional practice of burning ashes is filled with all sorts of symbolism. Most notably, we seen in the burning of old, dried palms the frailty of our human selves and the guilt of our shortcomings in failing to love and serve the Lord in our lives as we should have–the way we did when we heralded His triumphant coming with those very same fronds on the previous year’s Passion Sunday. In hopefulness, however, we look forward to the upcoming Passion Sunday and our Heavenly birth in the Resurrection on the week that follows, Easter!

I hope that helps clear it up for you.

Thanks, Fr. David and Passus. That’s exactly what I have always believed. I just did not understand the OP’s question. I thought perhaps the Sisters had left something out of my education so many years ago!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit