The Sacrament of Baptism

A Word About Godparents

What does the church say about sponsors (Godparents)? We can look at the New Code of Church Law which became effective on November 27, 1983.

Canon 872 says: “in the case of an infant Baptism, the sponsor’s 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.”

Canon 873 says: “One sponsor, male or female, is sufficient, but there may be two, one of each sex.”

Canon 874 says: “to be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must: Be appointed by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing this, by the pastor; to be appointed the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it.

Be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the pastor considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made.

Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken.

Not be excommunicated.

Not be either the father or mother of the person to be baptized.

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.”

Canon 851 says: “The parents of a child who is to be baptized, and those who are to undertake the office of sponsors, are to be suitably instructed on the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations attached to it.”

From all the above we can see that choosing a godparent involves a serious, prayerful decision.

Please be sure that your child’s godparents fulfill the requirements specified above. After you have carefully made the selection, ask the godparents to get a testimonial letter from the priest in their own parish. Bring the letters with you to the meeting with the priest, along with a copy of your child’s birth certificate.

For more information, please contact the parish office: (416) 536 3333.