A Catholic sponsor or godparent is one who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it (Canon 872). For this reason, the sponsor must be someone who “leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on” (Canon 874).
Consistent with this purpose of Catholic sponsors, Church law has certain requirements for those who request to be a Catholic sponsor:
- There may be one male sponsor (or godparent), or one female sponsor (or godparent), or one of each gender, but not two of the same gender.
- The sponsor must be at least 16 years old.
- The sponsor must be a Catholic who has received First Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation.
- The sponsor or godparent may not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized
- If the sponsor is married, he or she must be married in the Catholic Church.
Since a Catholic sponsor or godparent is meant to be an example and model of the faith for the one who is sponsored, it is necessary that the sponsor also be faithful to attending Sunday Mass, in fulfillment of the Third Commandment.
If you have been asked to be a sponsor or godparent, you will need to receive from your parish priest a “sponsor certificate.” If you are requesting a sponsor certificate, please contact either Fr. David Pignato at email@example.com, or Fr. Steven Booth at firstname.lastname@example.org.