For many people it is consider an honor and a privilege to be asked to be someone’s godparent or confirmation sponsor. These people are being asked to not only participate in a ceremony that connects and strengthens a persons bond with the holy spirit. But to also help guide their wards down the correct path of life that will lead them into God’s ever loving embrace.
Not just anyone can be asked to be either a godparent or a confirmation sponsor however. There are some criteria that the church requires of these people to be able to meet, in order to be able to qualify for the position. In this article, we will be going over this criteria as well as some of the duties and responsibilities that come with these positions.
The Qualifying Criteria For Godparents and Confirmation Sponsors
First and most importantly, all candidates must be a practicing and active Catholic, that is not estranged or excommunicated from the church – either imposed or declared – and in good standing with the local parish. The other criteria is as follows:
- They must be willing to accept the responsibilities that comes with the position. No one should be forced to fill the role, even out of obligation, as they must be committed to fulfilling the duties that comes with the position.
- The candidate can not be a parent, step-parent or guardian of the one they are looking to represent, nor their spouse.
- All godparents and sponsors need to have undergone their own Baptism, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation.
- Candidates need to be no less then 16 years of age and carry the maturity required to fulfill the role.
- All candidates are expected to live a life of faith in accordance with the teaching of the church, and be the exemplary role model that a young Catholic would aspire to be like.
- They must also attend regular Sunday Mass and hold the Catholic faith above all others.
- For baptism, the godparents are normally chosen by the parents of the child, or their guardians in absence of their parents. A priest or minister may also appoint someone suitable if need be.
- For Confirmation, the sponsors are chosen by the one that is undertaking the Sacrament of Confirmation themselves.
- Whether selecting godparents or sponsors, only two people may fill these roles. There can be only one male and one female chosen per representative, so twins going through the ceremonies may have four godparents or sponsors present, but only have two each.
- Finally they must be willing to submit all the completed paperwork, prior to the ceremony.
Life Roles of The Godparents and Confirmation Sponsors
While the godparents chosen to take part in a Baptism make a pledge on behalf of the child to renounce Satan and to believe in God and the church, and to guide the child into a life of faith and devotion. The sponsors that take part in the Sacrament of Confirmation are instead pledging to offer support and guidance for the person taking the confirmation. To help guide them into adulthood, and to give them the skills needed to face the challenges in life and to help strengthen their faith in God and the church.
By taking this pledge, they are committing to help guide and influence another soul. They accept the responsibility of taking on their new godchild or recipient as a charge/ward and being a responsible role model for them.
They can achieve this by using some of the following methods:
- Leading by example and adhering to the teachings of the church themselves and not living in sin. Examples would be to not live with a spouse outside of marriage or to commit adultery.
- Include their charge in some of their daily actives, social gatherings and business activities.
- Spend time with their charge or converse with them over the phone to discuss matters that may be of concern to their ward, and offer advice and guidance where they can.
- Pray with and for their charge, and read scripture together. Even consider attending mass together.
- Ensure that their ward follows the teaching of the church and remain a true follower of Jesus, God and the Church.
- Share in their charges struggles, triumphs and aspirations in life.
- Help them to learn from their own mistakes and not pass personal judgement for their failures. If they need advice that they themselves can not provide. Have them discuss the matter with their priest or bishop.