I have been living in my new apartment in Rome for all but a few weeks, and I keep coming across this small holy card for Saint Andrew (or San Andrea in Italian.)
The strange thing about the holy card is that I keep putting it away, and it keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. I had left it in the basket where we keep some fruit, and then when my friend Andrea was over for dinner the other night, it just popped up on the table... Strange... I asked Andrea if he wanted to keep the card (same name and all) however my friend politely declined. I then put the card back somewhere, not sure what to do with it.
Last night whilst chopping some mushrooms for dinner I saw this San Andrea holy card on the bench next to me! I ran into the other room to tell my bel ragazzo (who is now in Rome with me!) and my colleague that this holy card is a sign as it keeps popping up when I keep putting it away. (My bel ragazzo did not think it was a sign. He thinks I am a little superstitious/over imaginative and think everything is a sign. Not true however as I cannot help it if 'strange' things always happen to me.) Anyway, I was not sure what this holy card could be trying to tell me, and thought it a little eerie that the card kept popping up. I told my bel ragazzo that I did not want the card and that I would throw it out.
"No, devi bruciare!" No you have to burn it, my bel ragazzo says.
"Burn it? What on earth for?" Ask I, the ignorant, non religious foreigner.
Bel ragazzo did not know why, but with regards to holy cards and religious objects, one cannot throw them away but has to dispose of them properly...properly meaning one must burn them.
Upon further investigation I have found out that you can not only burn the holy cards, but you can donate them to the church, give them to someone who will care for them, or as a last resort you can also bury them. I am currently trying to decide which of the above options I will chose.
Further more I am still confused as to what the card is trying to tell me, as Saint Andrew is the patron saint fish. I am a vegetarian so do not eat fish...perhaps he is telling me I should go to the sea? Or to church perhaps? Or perhaps he is thanking me for not eating fish? However if he was a fisherman then maybe he wants me to eat fish? Who knows! Need to do a little more research on this one.