The Church only requires that there be one godparent. While adults seeking baptism can select their godparents, such responsibility rests with the parents of the infant. First and foremost, they are to act as a source of prayer and example for the child being baptized. If married, the godparent must be married in the Catholic Church or had their marriage blessed by the Catholic … Come alongside the child to let them see and know you desire to be present and active in their lives. 1255). This can play out as attending a soccer game, or taking the child for an intentional day of spending time with them. Among the early sources of Christian instruction was a book written in the first century called the Didache, or “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles.” The Didache purports to be an instruction based on sayings of the Lord and given by the Twelve Apostles to pagans who wished to become Christians. Whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, or any other religion, make like-minded friends and discuss religious issues here. The role of godparent becomes official upon baptism of the child in question. Not all Protestant Churches believe in infant baptism, but generally through baptism or child dedication a newborn will be brought forward in the church for a blessing and commitment before God to raise the child in a Christian home. During these ceremonies, the sponsor often stands behind the catechumen, placing his or her right hand on the catechumen’s right shoulder, symbolizing continuing support, confidence and encouragement. Always, the intent of the classroom and the sponsor is not only to teach the catechumen the tenets of the Faith, but expose them to the Christian life and bring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Godparent requirements for Baptism. Have they handled trials and stormy seasons in a godly manner? 2 A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.”. According to Canon Law 874, Godparents must be at least sixteen years of age and fully initiated in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a great honor when friends ask you to be a Godparent (aka, mentor, supporting adult, guideparent or guardian) and is an awsome responsibility and signals that they really trust you to look out for their child if something should happen to them. There is evidence that children were being baptized in the Church as early as the second century. Dependent on his or her Christian education, the candidate’s instruction may be less than the catechumen’s. THE ROLE OF THE GODPARENT The principal responsibility of a godparent is to give witness to the Catholic faith by his/her words and actions. The child is a Godchild. Can Loved Ones in Heaven Look Down on You? A godparent serves God in developing a close-knit relationship with the child, encouraging through a Christian light whenever possible. The role of godparents is a high honor given to a man and a woman after the birth of a child. Pray protection over the child, pray that the child does not fall into harm, and pray that the Lord blesses the child that day. Traditionally a godparent will take part in a baptism or baby dedication for the infant, and make a vow to assume a role in the spiritual development of that child. While the severity of the persecution varied depending on the emperor, seeking out and joining a Christian community was risky. Many times, one Godparent will be chosen by the mother for her side of the family, or a close friend, and likewise one on the side of the father for a relative or close friend. How do you choose godparents for your child? God often provides mentors or godparents even when a child does not have one, but being purposeful in choosing noble and trustworthy godparents is a great gift that can be given to a child. For example, sponsors at a baptism, either for an adult or infant, are known as godparents. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.”. Godparent Requirements: 1. It likewise makes no sense for a godparent of a Catholic to be someone who has ceased to practice the Catholic faith, or who lives in a sinful state that is incompatible with the life of a Catholic. By the eighth century, it was common practice to have a sponsor other than the parent, a godparent. This change is not obligatory; the original sponsor can also serve as the godparent. Whether it is at the Easter Vigil or another time, these elect have come out of the darkness into the light. When she is chosen to become Queen by King Xerxes, she is suddenly faced with huge decisions concerning her people. Canon 874 states that to serve as a godfather or a godmother, the following conditions must be met: To have been chosen and to have the aptitudes and the intention to serve in the function of godparent St. Augustine argued against those who wanted to teach inquirers “only what they needed to believe” and “after baptism instruct them in what they must do to live a good Christian life.”. Parents and godparents are present at the Baptism ceremony and promise to take on the responsibility of forming the child in the ways of the Catholic faith. Above all else, loving the child through the love of the Holy Spirit is the role and responsibility of a godparent. In modern times the role of godparents remains the same in the root: to encourage a child up in the Lord. Are your words of encouragement, faith in God, and of light? The selection and responsibilities of a sponsor for a baptized adult, a candidate, are similar to those of a catechumen, but the formation period of the candidate may be of a shorter duration. The role is, together with the parents, to present the child for baptism, and to help it to live a Christian life befitting the baptized and faithfully to fulfill the duties inherent in baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it. At Baptism you become a Christian and join the family of God in the Catholic Church. One other noticeable difference from the catechumen is that the candidate and sponsor do not actively participate in the liturgical ceremonies included for a catechumen. Often a child may feel more comfortable sharing about some aspects of their lives they would not share with their parents. Since the godparents’ role is to assist the parents in raising the child as a Catholic, their selection is a very important decision. In the reception of the sacraments, including the most holy Eucharist, they have become among the People of God, a Catholic Christian. A male Godparent is a Godfather and a female Godparent is a Godmother. 20 Great Bible Verses for Kids to Memorize, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Today’s formal RCIA process has four parts: Evangelization and Precatechumenate; Catechumenate; Purification and Enlightenment; and Mystagogy. While the term “godparent” (or godfather or godmother) at an infant baptism is familiar, some of us don’t realize that the person assisting at an adult baptism is also called a godparent. Her latest books, Dear Young Sparrow and Unveiled are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. Though it is ideal to select two Catholic godparents, (one female, one male) the Church only requires that there be one godparent. 552). Can. iStock/RenataApanaviciene. Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Kay Fochtmann EyeEm. The sponsor stands with the candidate when the candidate is received into the Church during The Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion with the Catholic Church, as well as during any optional or combined parish ceremonies acknowledging the candidate: “At the [Rite of Reception], the candidate should be accompanied by a sponsor and may even have two sponsors. There is wonderful excitement, even a sense of fulfillment, when a Catholic sponsor (or godparent) stands with a candidate or elect during their initiation into the Catholic faith and recognizes the Holy Spirit enveloping them, as happened at Pentecost and the River Jordan. Canon Law (872-74) establishes prerequisites for a Catholic sponsor (godparent) of a catechumen (see Canon Law sidebar below). A Catholic godparent can send your child books and tapes and videos that will help the child grow in faith. Essentially, Godparents play a vital role in the life of a Baptized person, whether infant or adult. Anyone seeking to join the Catholic Church — catechumen, candidate, even a baptized Catholic child attending a confirmation or religious education class ­­– has a sponsor, someone who helps guide them on their faith journey. The threat of persecution caused the Christians to be careful about accepting others into their community; the fear was that someone could infiltrate and then identify their members to local officials. “It is desirable to choose as sponsor the one who undertook the same function in baptism” (No. At the end of the Evangelization and Precatechumenate period, the time especially set aside for discernment, the well-prepared inquirers and their sponsors participate in a parish Rite of Acceptance ceremony. Conversely, the baptized person desiring to join the Church by receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and Eucharist is known as a candidate. Christians were viewed by many Romans and Jews as a disloyal secret society holding mysterious services, eating and drinking what they called the body and blood of the Nazarene Jesus, the one who had been crucified as a political criminal. All rights reserved. … This is a matter of tremendous spiritual importance, and the parents should use a number of spiritual criteria to make their choice. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Candidates for Confirmation, as for Baptism, fittingly seek the help of a sponsor” (No. According to a fourth-century pilgrim to the Holy Land named Etheria, on the first day of Lent those seeking baptism were brought before the bishop, who would ask neighbors and sponsors about these individuals’ lives and virtues. 1311). Monkey see, monkey do is a common expression that carries great truth. Or are they of complaining, hopelessness, or harshness. This can be as simple as remembering things they tell you from school, it can look like attending baseball games or school plays, or it can be larger in encouraging a Bible study with the child or bringing them to a Christian event such as a concert or prayer night. 873 There can be only one male or one female sponsor or one of each. The role of the godparent is to help. During the three-year period, the catechumens were continuously evaluated as to whether or not they were living a Christian lifestyle. A catechumen is a non-baptized person seeking baptism, full communion with the Catholic Church, and is typically entered into a formal course of instruction called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). At times, it may look like giving advice from a Christian perspective on big life decisions, at times romantic decisions, or at times developing relationship to live out life with that child. Remember – a Godparent is not just a good or faith filled person. It is also wise to consider how this person has lived their own life. When the period of Catechumenate is ended, the catechumen may replace his or her sponsor with a different individual, a godparent. If the bishop was satisfied, then the person would become a chosen one for baptism. This guidance and the writings of many Church Fathers such as St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313-86) and St. Augustine (354-430) also include instructions that are, even today, provided to those seeking to join the Church. The role of godparent is an important one in the Catholic church. In addition to preaching and teaching, the early inquirer was exposed to a community of Christians and ideally formed into a follower of Christ. The godparent name is entered into the parish record book as the “official” godparent or sponsor for baptism. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”. Article Images Copyright ©. The sponsor specifically attested to the person’s sincerity and moral character. (Note: The term “candidate” is used here to indicate that this person is being considered for baptism; not to be confused with a baptized Christian, a candidate, seeking to join the Church.). Together they carry out the role of godparents in the baptism. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must: 1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function; 2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause; 3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on; 4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared; 5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized. On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring him (her) up in the practice of the faith. It is the responsibility of godparents to show the candidates how to practice the Gospel in personal and social life, to sustain the candidates in moments of hesitancy and anxiety, to bear witness and to guide the candidates progress in baptismal life” (No. When the time for an infant baptism arrives, it is also the time for the parents to select the godparents. It is very important not to let the choosing of godparents be a passive or quick decision. Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. Choosing a godparent is not an easy task, but it is one of consequence. As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Are they honest, trustworthy, and do they have an intentional heart for children? Here, the inquirers are accepted as catechumens and the sponsors verbally affirm their willingness to assist them in their faith journey. Typically, a mother will choose the godmother and the father will choose the godfather, but that is not a set-in stone rule. Such an individual is referred to as a “Christian Witness”. Similarly, Catholic Christians have provided assistance to others who, uncertain in their faith walk, have sought out the certitude of Catholicism. The terms “catechumen” and “candidate,” closely tied to sponsors and godparents, often need clarification. If someone has had a principal part in guiding or preparing the candidate, he or she should be the sponsor” (RCIA ritual book, No. Also pray that the Lord will guide and direct you in how to pray for and be there for the child that day. membership. The ritual book explains that “Godparents are chosen … on the basis of example, good qualities and friendship, delegated by the local Christian community and approved by the priest. Their task is a truly ecclesial function (officium)” (No. 872 Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents present an infant for baptism. The godparent attends mass for the first three Sundays along with the child and the family ensuring to be a part of the child's spiritual upbringing. The choosing of godparents and the role to become a godparent is no light matter, it is a great honor that should be taken seriously. Common, notional responsibilities of the sponsor include attending Mass with the catechumen, participating in some or all RCIA classes, introducing the catechumen to other parishioners, inviting the catechumen to parish events, spending time with them in prayer, discussing Mass readings and participating in the RCIA rites and ceremonies. Non-baptized persons may not serve in the role of godparents or witnesses. Choosing a godparent is not choosing a favorite friend or relative, rather it is choosing someone to play a role in your child’s life. Something of these … Baptisms are usually held on the last Sunday of each month, at 12.15pm in the Church of St Joan of Arc. Traditionally, they offer their blessings of the nuptials and stand as witnesses to the marriage covenant. Christians were cautious and worshipped covertly. It is not simply a sweet, nice thing to be part of, but an obligation. The Catholic Baptism ceremony for infants is the very picture of innocence and beauty. This is not to require perfection of the godparent, but is something to keep in mind when interacting with the child to provide an authentic, sincere, real, and honest way of living in what it looks like to follow Christ daily. V. Provided at least one Godparent is a qualified Catholic, the other may be a baptized member of an different Christian religion. Godparents must be practicing Catholics who are at least 16 years of age and must have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation. The Second Vatican Council would resurrect the formal catechumenate of the early Church with the RCIA process. Certain sponsor responsibilities are identified in the RCIA ritual book (The Liturgical Press, $34.95) as well as by the individual diocese and parish. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1213. The Church expects the godparent to live in such a manner that demonstrates the virtues taught by our Lord Jesus. Christian Parenting and Family Resources with Biblical Principles. Roles of a godparent fundamentally require helping the child in their spiritual journey, but it does not stop there. Baptized, participating Christians of other denominations may serve as a “Christian Witness” and be so designated in the Baptismal Register. Let the Lord press in your heart and be open to what He may inspire you to intentionally connect with your godchild. Every Christian community wanted to share the Good News and expand the number of believers, but at the same time they sought complete candor and sincerity from the inquirer. It is not something to be taken lightly, nor is it something burdensome. It is widely practiced and honored in many Protestant branches of the church. Godparents often come alongside during such ceremonies or baptisms to affirm their commitment to the parents of the child, the child, and most of all to God Himself that they will seek to help the child grow up to know that they are loved, supported, cherished, and known by God. Godparent Etiquettes. In all, godparents serve a special role in the life of the baptized person. The Rite of Acceptance marks the catechumen’s formal entrance into the order of Catechumenate, the next part of the RCIA process, which lasts for several weeks. If they feel accepted and wanted they will feel more inclined to grow closer with someone. Assuming the inquirer satisfied the Church leaders, that individual would become known as a catechumen (from a Greek word meaning “instruction”) and started three years of spiritual formation and instruction in Christianity. According to canon law, it is the duty and privilege of Catholic parents to pass on the gift of faith to their newly baptized child, and likewise, it is the duty and privilege of godparents … The child is not able to talk, understand or respond during baptism. It is crucial to ensure the person you choose will take on the role and not neglect it. Although the specific naming term of godparent arose through Catholicism, it is not exclusive to the Catholic Church to become a godparent. Requirements to be a Catholic Godparent: “Each child may have a godfather and a godmother, the word ‘godparents’ is used in the rite to describe both.” (Rite of Baptism … Throughout Church history, devoted Catholics have offered guidance to men and women seeking the peace and love of Christianity. Subscribe now. Even after Paul’s conversion they worried about him: “When he arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple” (Acts 9:26). The Code of Canon Law specifically addresses the role of a confirmation sponsor: “Insofar as possible there is to be a sponsor for the person to be confirmed; the sponsor is to take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament” (No. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. At the Rite of Election, in the third part of the RCIA process, the godparent affirms before the bishop the readiness, commitment and moral character of the catechumen, “that they are worthy to be admitted to the sacraments of Christian initiation” (RCIA ritual book, No. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”. Could the sponsor recognize a spiritual transformation taking place in the catechumen? Praying for your godchild is important daily. The seriousness with which the Church perceives the role of godparents is exemplified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which describes godparents as “firm believers, able and ready to help newly baptized — child or adult — on the road to Christian life. Any gifts from godparents and family should go to the parents, and not the officiant or the church where the baptism is performed. And they shall be examined as to their reason for embracing the Faith, and those who bring them shall testify that they are competent to hear the word.” Having received the testimony of the sponsor, the Church leaders would further evaluate the one seeking to become a Christian. Some ideas are: to pray for your godchild – talk to God about whatever problems you can see they might be having, or that God would protect them and keep them close to him. Godparents are often chosen for their relationship with the Lord and their relationship to the parents of the newborn child. As a godparent, your first duty is to understand these traditions and respect them. 483). Baptism and christening ceremonial traditions vary from one culture to another. According to the Vatican’s Code of Canon Law 874, godparents “help the baptized person to lead a Christian life.” As spiritual advisors, godparents also have a special role during weddings. As a godparent being intentional is an important aspect to tending the garden of relationship with your godchild. Since Godparents make a profession of their Christian faith at the Baptism ceremony, those who do not belong to a Christian faith may not serve in the role of godparent. Saul, before he became St. Paul, is an example of the kind of person the Christians sought to avoid. A Prayer for Peace in Confusing Times - Your Daily Prayer - January 19, 6 Major Differences between Christianity and the American Dream, 5 Powerful Prayers for Protection in the Storms of Life, Amazing Children's Choir Sings 'I Can Only Imagine', I'm Happy For You... (Not) - Crosswalk the Devotional - January 20, Prayers for President Joe Biden, on Inauguration Day and Beyond, 10 Things Never to Say to Your Adult Children, 10 Encouraging Bible Verses about Not Giving Up, This site is a proud member of the Salem Web Network, a subsidiary of, Copyright © 2021, Crosswalk.com. 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Are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble infant, are as. Prayer and discernment, discussions with the RCIA ritual book any money for the child grow faith! That demonstrates the virtues taught by our Lord and our faith Mary mother. Church of St Joan of Arc similar purpose in welcoming the child question. Of spiritual criteria to make their choice process has four parts: Evangelization and Precatechumenate ; Catechumenate ; Purification Enlightenment! You 're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, or any other,! A spiritual transformation taking place in the Lord will guide and direct you in to! Accepted as catechumens and the sponsors verbally affirm their willingness to assist them in their lives they would share... Explicit that we not confuse a candidate with a different way, your first duty is understand... Three-Year period, the catechumens were continuously evaluated as to whether or not they were a! 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