When a parent chooses you as a godparent that means you are thought of as a very special Catholic. Being called to be a godparent is not merely a choice because of family ties or friendship rewards. The call to be a godparent bears the responsibility of giving a spiritual witness to your godchild of how to live out the Catholic faith in every day of life. As a confirmed, adult Catholic, you are a guide and model of how a mature Catholic ought to live. By being faithful to God’s law, being active in the life of your parish, participating in Mass weekly, and living the Gospel values, you offer tremendous personal support to parents who commit themselves, in Baptism to faithfully passing on the Catholic faith to their child.
Therefore, it is important that you prayerfully consider the serious responsibility, which you take on as a godparent. If you are unable to live up to Catholic ideals, you may wish to decline this responsibility.
The Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law lists these requirements for a person to be a valid and lawful godparent in Baptism:
Canon 872 - The godparent’s role with the parents is to present the infant for the sacrament of Baptism and help the child live a life befitting a baptized Catholic Christian.
Canon 873 – There may be only one male godparent or one female godparent or one of each.
§1 To be permitted to take on the function of godparent a person must:
1. Be designated by the parent and must be mature enough to undertake this responsibility;
2. Be at least 16 years of age;
3. Have received the three sacraments of initiation namely Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation and live 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 by the Church;
This means that Catholics in an invalid marriage (not according to Catholic Church regulations) and those that are cohabitating (living together without marriage) cannot serve as a sponsor.
5. Must not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized;
§2 A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic Christian community may not be admitted as a godparent but as a witness to the Baptism together with a Catholic godparent.
St Cecilia requires a Letter of Good Standing from the parish where the godparent(s) are currently active, attending, and registered. Call the parish office and request the letter to be sent to: St Cecilia Parish, 2900 Hoover Ave, Ames IA 50010.
THE ROLE OF GODPARENTS:
To be chosen as a godparent is a special honor. You have been entrusted with the responsibility to participate in this child’s Catholic life and education. This privilege offers you the opportunity to develop a mutually enriching spiritual relationship – one that will last throughout this life and beyond. There are many ways you can nurture this spiritual relationship and become a special friend to our godchild. Among them are:
Celebrate the anniversary of this holy day of Baptism each year with a visit, a call or a card.
As your godchild grows, listen to and share in the struggles and triumphs of living a Christian life, and keep your self-informed on the Christian doctrine and values, to be able to answer questions as they arise.
Encourage a consistent life of faith through special cards, letters, or gifts, which celebrate holy events… Christmas, Easter…and personal growth events…graduation, first job, engagement. (Gift suggestions: a bible, spiritual book, rosary, religious jewelry, gift certificate for religious goods/books, retreat opportunity.)
Participate in, or send assurance of prayer, as your godchild receives the other sacraments, particularly First Communion and Confirmation, which complete initiation into the Church community.
Be supportive of your godchild’s parents in their role as the primary religious educators of their child.
And most importantly, become a model of Catholic living for your godchild, through daily prayer, virtue and active participation in parish life and liturgy.
By living a Christian life in partnership with your godchild, both of you will experience the great joy of sharing a life o