Sponsor Certificate

CANONICAL GUIDELINES FOR THE SELECTION OF A GODPARENT OR SPONSOR FOR CONFIRMATION

 

The qualifications for the role of Godparent or Sponsor for Confirmation are found in The Code of Canon Law (1983) and The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) promulgated by His Holiness, St. John-Paul II. The following guidelines are provided to answer the usual questions that arise when parents or candidates are discerning a person for these roles.

GODPARENT FOR BAPTISM

  • The canonical guidelines for selecting a Godparent (patrinus) are found in canons 872-874. A person to be baptized needs only one Godparent. If the tradition of having two is desired, the person or their parent(s) may choose a man and a woman. Two Godparents of the same sex are not permitted.
  • The mother or the father may not be a Godparent. The role of Godparent is to assist the parent(s) in the training of the child in the practice of the faith. The roles are distinct and not to be mixed.

  • A Godparent is a Catholic in good standing, that is, living the Gospel message in their daily personal lives. They should practice the faith regularly. They are to be at least sixteen years of age, have the proper aptitude and intention to assume this role, and have received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

  • Catholics married outside the Church, or Catholics who choose to co-habitate outside of the Sacrament of Marriage are not permitted to be Godparents.

  • Any Catholic who is not living according to the doctrinal and moral teaching of the Church should not be asked to serve in this important role as Godparent.

CHRISTIAN WITNESS FOR BAPTISM

  • Any Catholic who has abandoned the faith, even if they are now active members of another Christian denomination or community, may not serve as a Godparent or as a Christian Witness. 

  • A Christian Witness is a validly baptized non-Catholic who practices their faith in Christ in a visible and sincere manner.

SPONSOR FOR CONFIRMATION

The requirements to be a Sponsor for Confirmation are exactly the same as those to be a Godparent for Baptism. The following guidelines, therefore, are presented for this Sacrament:

 

  • Parents may not serve as a Sponsor for Confirmation. The ideal is that the Godparent at Baptism also serves this role at the Sacrament of Confirmation. Any Catholic may be named provided they fulfill all the requirements listed for a Godparent for Baptism.

  • Godparents must be at least sixteen years of age, practicing the Catholic faith, and fully initiated in the Catholic Church.

  • Non-Catholics, former Catholics, and members of Churches not in union with the Catholic Church may not serve as Sponsors for Confirmation. Members of the Orthodox Churches, because of the lack of unity among the Churches, may not serve as a Sponsor for Confirmation. A Christian Witness is never permitted at the Sacrament of Confirmation.

  • Pastors should recommend a Godparent in situations where a qualified Godparent cannot be found.

The Expectations of being a Confirmation Sponsor

Even if a potential Sponsor meets the requirements of Canon Law, personal considerations might encourage or discourage him from accepting the invitation. Such considerations include:

  • Whether the potential Sponsor is prepared to fulfill the duties of a Confirmation Sponsor. A Sponsor becomes a spiritual parent to the Confirmation candidate. The Sponsor is to help guide the candidate in his or her faith. Sponsorship is a lifetime commitment. A Sponsor should be prepared to pray for the Candidate regularly—not only prior to Confirmation, but after Confirmation. The Sponsor might also consider whether she or he is prepared to maintain regular contact with the Candidate. Christmas cards, birthday cards, and Confirmation anniversary cards, along with phone calls and visits, can be important elements in sustaining the relationship. Attending Mass together, along with participating in Church activities such as service projects, are other good ways of maintaining contact.
  • Whether the potential Sponsor leads a life of faith that he or she would want the Confirmed to imitate. Candidates for Confirmation generally ask a person to Sponsor them because they like and admire that person. That’s a good start. But in general, does the potential Sponsor lead a life that someone could imitate and not be led astray? Is the potential Sponsor ready to answer (or find answers to) the questions the Candidate might have about the faith and about life in general?
  • Confirmation Sponsorship generally builds on an existing relationship. This being the case, a potential Sponsor can consider her or his present relationship with the candidate. Is it strong and healthy? Does it have the potential to continue to grow? Will the Sponsor be able to guide and correct the Confirmed, helping him to be a true witness to Christ?
  • Confirmation Sponsors are expected to help and encourage the Candidate if needed with their studies and prayer life and attend retreats and other events with the Candidate. 
 

Since the earliest days of the Church, Sponsors played a crucial role in presenting a new member of the faith to the faithful.  Today, Sponsors continue to serve this role: assuring the parish family that the Candidate is ready and committed to a lifetime in the family of faith of Christ’s Church.  The relationship between the Sponsor and the Candidate begins a  lifetime of relationship—of Communion—with all Catholics in the world, and of course, with God.


If you have any questions, contact Sr. Angelina Giramma at 401-942-1616 or outreach.stmarkri@verizon.net.

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