Because my parish is awesome, I have an office to match. This year youth ministry went from a small classroom where I barricaded my desk in the corner with coolers and rubbermaid tubs to keep the dodgeballs from hitting my computer to a truly amazing multi-purpose room with a youth room and separate corner office. It's exactly the type of office they warn you you'll never get if you work for the Church. Kids, sometimes "they" don't know what they're talking about. Remember that.
Anyways, the only problem with this is that while I'm not a "leave old dishes that grow mold in my bookshelves" dirty, I am "why file paper when stacks on my printer, fridge and sacred spaces make it so much easier to find necessary paperwork" cluttered. Also, I've found parents are delighted to fill out the same permission slip three times, should it get mis-filed.
Actually, I should work on that.
This is especially awkward since, as a corner office, everyone walking by can see. I am well aware that stacks of paper, 3 starbucks cups and a tooth brush littering my desk doesn't exactly say, "hi, I'm a professional you can trust with your children" so I try to attack it every couple weeks. Tonight, as I was madly chucking christmas cards and permission slips from 2007, I encountered a conundrum. A water bottle that I had been using for holy water. This bottle has caused me sacramental awkwardness before, but now it was finally almost empty-- save a few droplets-- and I absentmindedly chucked it in the trash. Then I realized this is a sacramental... We don't throw out prayer books, rosaries or other sacred objects (not because we believe they are gods, but out of respect for the God they remind us of), so I rescued it and set it on my desk and wondered... what do I do with a bottle that held holy water? Well, what would anyone do... I consulted social media. I'm always amazed how #teamcatholic comes through with some great (never sarcastic) responses when posed with a ministry question. I got some pretty amazing answers that needed to be shared:
MarianneSkees our thoughts here are that if it's dried out you're fine
RealMichaelW or burn it.
lucashennessey I think you'd be ok to pitch it...if you're REALLY feelin' cautious, you could bury it...
(which, I think would be bad karma from St. Francis... holy water or not, plastic's not biodegradable).
churchmankirk i'd say it could be recycled. The melting down is basically like the burning that's acceptable for blessed object
DorianSpeed Ooh - tough one. I'd fill it with non-holy h2o, pour that onto the ground, then dispense with the bottle.
LT_TheBiblegeek Go to a wake and sneak it into the open casket during the viewing. #Catholic #reverent #efficient
And that was not all. Facebook also held answers:
hmm add more holy water next time your at Church and keep it a Holy Water container! Make it easy on yourself!
The truly PC thing to do would be to throw it at a vampire who has a large carbon footprint.
Can't you rinse it out really well in the church's special sink?
melt it into a statuette of Jesus. He won't mind.
Throw it away followed by 3 Hail Marys, that's what I do.
So... Thanks, internet. I am overwhelmed with options. After careful consideration... I think I'll just leave it on my desk indefinitely. A paperweight for expired permission slips.