What are the requirements for godparents?
Canon 872 and 874 of the code of Canon Law lists these requirements for valid and lawful sponsorship in Baptism. Canon 873 states one sponsor, male or female, is sufficient; but there may be two, one of each sex.
The sponsor's role is to assist the person in Christian initiation. In the case of an infant baptism, 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.
A Godparent must take a baptism class either at St. Charles Borromeo or their parish and email the certificate to Director and submit a letter/or complete the Godparent Verification Form of eligibility from his/her pastor attesting that he/she meets the following requirements:
Each sponsor for baptism must meet all of the following:
1. Be at least sixteen (16) years of age.
2. Be a fully initiated Catholic (must have received all three sacraments of initiation, baptism, confirmation and Eucharist).
3. Be a practicing Catholic and a Catholic in good standing who leads a life of faith necessary to fulfill the responsibility of being a sponsor.
4. Be a registered member of a parish in the area where he or she lives.
5. Attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
6. Support the parish both financially and through service to the best of their ability.
7. If married, the sponsor must be in a valid marriage. Married according to the laws and regulations of the Catholic Church, which means that they were married by a Catholic priest or obtained an official permission for getting married outside of the Catholic Church.
a. Please note: Those Catholics who are invalidly married, as for example, before a justice of the peace, without proper dispensation before a minister of a Protestant church or before a rabbi, or those Catholics who are divorced and invalidly remarried do not qualify as a sponsor at baptism even though they may fulfill other requirements listed above.
8. If single, may not be cohabiting with someone without the benefit of marriage.
9. May not be the father or the mother of the person to be baptized.
We hope that parents choose godparents who will take an active role in the faith formation of their child.
The church requires at least one godparent who is a practicing, confirmed Catholic age 16 or older. That godparent's name is entered into the parish record book as the "official" godparent or sponsor for baptism.
If you choose more than two godparents, one or two may have their names entered into the book as "official" godparents, and the others can be "honorary" godparents. You don't have to tell them which is which.
If you choose two godparents of the same sex, one can be the "official" godparent for the record book, and the other can be the "honorary" one. (Just as above, you don't have to tell anyone which is which except us.)
Baptized non-Catholic Christians may not be "official" godparents for the record book, but they may be Christian witnesses for your child.
People who are not baptized Christians cannot be sponsors for baptism, since they themselves are not baptized. However, you may certainly invite non-Christian friends or relatives to attend the celebration and to have a special place in your child's life, sharing with your child their own faith traditions.
Godparents by Proxy
If the godparent cannot be present in person, he/she may appoint another person to represent him/her. This is usually done by letter which would contain a statement of acceptance of the responsibilities by the sponsor and the appointment by name of the proxy. Requirements for the proxy are the same as those listed above for a godparent.
A baptized person who belongs to a non-catholic ecclesial community may be admitted only in company with a catholic sponsor, and then simply as a witness to the baptism. A letter of recommendation from his/her pastor should be obtained.
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