To be a Godparent for Baptism or a Sponsor for Confirmation
It is a serious responsibility to choose a godparent(s) well. It is a decision worth much thought, prayer and discussion.
- Godparents are to be Catholic. A child may have one godparent (male or female) or two godparents (one male and one female). Godparents may be as young as 16 years old. NO Non-Catholics (especially non-Christians) or those who object to the faith by claiming to be Agnostic or Atheist) may serve as Godparents.
- Must be attending Mass on Sundays on a regular basis and be registered in a parish.
- Must have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist.
- If married, godparents must be married in the Catholic Church and not practice contraception (since contraception is an immoral practice contrary to Church teaching).
- If single, must not be living with someone with whom they are not married (heterosexual or homosexual relationship).
- Must be in good standing with the Church. (Examples of not being in good standing with the Church: living outside the state of matrimony, cohabiting couples "living together", public rejection of the faith, membership or regular practice of another non-Catholic faith, the practice of the black arts or having received a formal declaration of excommunication)
- Must not be involved in behaviors or in careers contrary to Catholic Morality. (i.e. worker at Planned Parenthood, worker or owner of an immoral establishment, an abortion practicioner, ect...)
- Must attend baptismal instruction class prior to the baptism.
- If from another parish, godparents should bring a letter from their pastor verifying their suitability to serve as godparents as well as a letter verifying that they have attended baptismal classes if they do not attend class at St. John‘s.
- The godparent cannot be the biological mother or father of the child.
Why so many conditions?
While many people consider the choice they make as a favor or an honorary title, being a godparent or a sponsor is a serious committment and obligation. While the practice is ignored by many, it must be remembered that one who serves as godparent or sponsor is servinig a spiritual role for that child.
- It is the responsibility of a godparent to demonstrate and model the Catholic faith to young Catholics. The godparent is responsible for:
- Praying and making sacrifices and penance for the sake of the godchild or the sponsored youth.
- Supporting the spiritual formation and Catholic upbringing of their godchild or sponsored youth.
- Assisting the parents in making sure the child is attending Mass and practicing their faith.
- Helping to teach and demonstrate proper Catholic moral decision making and living.
Why can't we just pick anyone, even if they don't practice the faith?
Its a grave diservice for the child who is baptized or being confirmed. It makes the role of godparent or sponsor unimportant and speaks of what value we place in the importance of the sacrament. If it is the role of the godparent and sponsor to teach and model Catholic living, why wouldn't parents seek out the best. It's like asking someone to coach your child in a sport in which he has no idea how to play the game.