Baptism of Children
Choosing a godparent is a beautiful gift to be cherished by the chosen person. As parents, on the day of your child’s baptism, you will promise to accept the responsibility of training your child in the practice of the faith by loving God and neighbor as Christ taught us. To aid you in this mission, the Church asks that you seek out the assistance of actively practicing Catholics to serve in the role of godparents. The godparent, together with the parents, “helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it” (Code of Canon Law No. 872).
To this end, the Church requires that a godparent must meet the following requirements:
- Be an actively practicing Catholic
- Be at least 16 years old
- Have already received the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)
- (If married) Be in a valid marriage recognized by the Catholic Church
- Married in front of a Catholic deacon, priest, or bishop in a sacred space in front of at least two witnesses
- Cannot be the father or the mother of the one to be baptized
There need be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each, but if there are two sponsors, then they should not be of the same sex.
The Catholic godparent must obtain a sponsor certificate from his or her parish and submit this to Holy Family Parish two weeks prior to the baptism. If you are a member of Holy Family Parish, please stop by the parish office to pick up a sponsor certificate.
Catholic Godparents & Christian Witnesses
What if a non-Catholic Christian wants to be a godparent? This person could be a Christian Witness. A baptized person of another faith may act as a Christian Witness together with a Catholic godparent/sponsor. While no sponsor’s certificate is required for the Christian Witness, it is expected that the person is an active participant in the faith tradition in which they were baptized. The role of Christian Witness is reserved for non-Catholic, baptized Christians. A non-Catholic Christian may act as a sponsor for Baptism only when accompanied by a practicing Catholic sponsor who is fulfilling each of the requirements noted above.
If a non-Catholic is chosen to act in this capacity, he or she must be a baptized Christian. In addition, it is strongly recommended that he or she:
- Is an active, registered member of his or her Christian church
- Is one who attends the church worship services on a regular basis
- Is one who demonstrates Christian virtues by his or her lifestyle
- Obtains a letter of Christian Witness from his or her church