This is a big day for your family…and you want to do the right thing.
Choosing Godparents is a decision not to be taken lightly.
Too often parents want to honor a special friend, repay a favor, or encourage a non-relative to have a closer relationship with their child. While all of these motives are well-intentioned, they are not ideal.
Consider the following.
A godparent serves a special role for the one to be baptized – whether a child or an adult. Godparents represent the Catholic Faith Community – the Church. They are to assist in the preparation of adult candidates for Baptism and to be supportive of them afterwards. When it comes to infant baptism, godparents are to assist the child’s parents in raising their child in the Catholic Faith, so that the child may profess and live it as an adult.
It is helpful to remember that Baptism gives a person a new and special status as a child of God and it makes a person a member of the Body of Christ – the Church. What you are looking for in a godparent is someone who can truly represent the Christian community. This means you want at least one active and committed Catholic. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states “the Godfather and Godmother…must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized – child or adult – on the road to Christian life.” This is the Church’s way of saying that being a godparent is truly a ministry in the Church and not merely an honor.
As much as a couple might appreciate all the help a non-practicing special friend has given them, this is not a good motive for inviting them to be a godparent. Rather, a couple should choose a firm believer, someone who is truly committed to the Catholic Faith in which their new baby will be baptized. To ensure that a godparent is capable, Church law insists that this person be at least 16 years old, fully initiated (having received Confirmation and Eucharist), be someone other than the legal parents and one who leads a life in harmony with the Church.
All of this may seem like quite a bit. The purpose is to insure that the rich and beautiful faith of the Church is passed on to your child in the most loving and authentic way possible. The task of choosing godparents is one which should be performed with much prayer, careful thought and with the greatest concern for the precious spiritual life of your child.
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