Choosing a Godparent

Choosing a Godparent:

The choice of godparents is very important since they serve as role models for the child by living a fully Christian life and encouraging the child in the experience of the Catholic Faith.  Thus, godparents are to be people whose faith lends itself to this living example.

Traditionally there are two godparents. This practice continues to be strongly encouraged.  Under certain circumstances, however, it is possible to have only one godparent. There cannot be more than two.  If there are two godparents, one must be male and the other female. Canon law allows that a validly baptized non-Catholic Christian may serve as a “Christian Witness” to the baptism. His or her role in the baptism rite is the same as the Catholic godparent.  One may stand as the “Christian Witness” provided he or she is not a former Catholic.

Canon law requires that godparents meet the following requirements:

  1. Be Catholic
  2. Have been baptized, confirmed, and received Communion
  3. Be 16 or older (although the bishop may make exceptions)
  4. Be living a life consistent with their own baptismal vows

The fourth criteria requires that the one who stands as godparent must be a regular practitioner of the faith (ie: attend Sunday Mass) and be living a life in conformity with the teachings of the Church.  If married, the godparent must be in a marriage that is recognized by the Church. If a potential godparent is not a member of the parish where the baptism is to take place, a letter or certificate must be obtained from the pastor of the home parish that affirms the fulfilment of the above requirements. A non-Catholic Christian who is participating as a “Christian Witness” must meet the second two requirements listed above and provide proof of baptism as well as a letter of good standing from the pastor of his or her community.

If a godparent cannot attend the baptism a proxy must be asked to stand in his or her place at the celebration.  The name of the godparent, not the proxy, will appear on the child’s baptismal certificate. The proxy must meet the same criteria as the godparent (see above).

On behalf of the St. Cecilia – St. Gabriel Parish Community and Staff, we would like to congratulate you on your child’s baptism and welcome him or her with open arms into the Catholic Faith. Please send your sponsor notes at least 2 weeks prior to your child’s Baptism.

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