People have many questions about Godparents. Hopefully this flier will help answer these questions for you
The Catholic Godparent: According to the Canon Law #874, godparents must:
To be admitted to the role of sponsor, a person must:
- Be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the one who takes their place or, in their absence, by the pastor or minister and is to have the qualifications and intention of performing this role
- Have completed the sixteenth year, unless a different age has been established by the diocesan bishop or it seems to the pastor or minister that an exception is to be made for just cause
- Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken
- Not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared
- Not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized
If any of the above qualifications can be answered “no,” please call our Pastor, Fr. Maurice Larochelle at 622-4615. He will advise you on how to have your sponsor/godparent proceed to complete the necessary qualifications.
The Christian Witness: We understand that Christians of other faith traditions cannot fully attest to Roman Catholic beliefs and traditions. For this reason the Church does not want to place the expectations of a Catholic on them which is implied in the term “Godparent.” Therefore, with respect to the various Christian denominations and faith traditions, we confer the term of “Christian Witness” for our non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ and gladly welcome their participation in the Catholic sacrament of Baptism. “The reason for this distinction and restriction is that the godparent not only is taking responsibility for the religious education and spiritual formation of the baptized person, but also is representing the Church, the community of faith, into which the person is being baptized. A Christian, who is not Catholic, although perhaps a very holy Christian, cannot fully attest to the beliefs of the Catholic Church” (Rev. William Saunders, The Role of Godparents-http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0233.html)
- From the Code of Canon Law # 874 as listed above, with the addition of the following with regard to a “Christian Witness:”
- A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community may not be admitted except as a witness to baptism and together with a Catholic sponsor.
If you have any questions or any of these requirements for Catholic Godparents or Christian Witnesses presents a problem, please contact our office at 624-1509 so that we may help you resolve this matter.
God bless you on your journey toward Baptism for your child!