The responsibility assumed by a Godparent is not one to be taken lightly, and parents are encouraged to choose carefully. When you invite a person to serve as your child’s godparent, you are asking this individual to make a lifelong commitment to your child. A godparent is called to be the guardian of the faith and guide in the moral life, so it is important that he or she is a faithful Christian.
Ask yourself these questions when considering a godparent: How well do they know the faith? Do they understand the meaning of baptism? Will they be there for the needs of their godchild? Do they understand what the Church teaches about faith and morals? Are they examples of this teaching? Can my child emulate their Christian example? Would they be open to such a serious life-long commitment?
Ideally, both Godfather and Godmother should be Catholics. On a practical level, sometimes there is only one Catholic who must fulfill all of the above requirements. If the other sponsor is not a Catholic, he/she should be a Christian in regular attendance at a church. This person will be listed as a Christian Witness.
In addition, there are Church and Diocesan criteria that a godparent must meet:
Policies for selecting godparents
- Is at least 16 years of age
- Is not the father or mother of the person receiving the sacrament
- Has received the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist
- If married, has done so according to the laws of the Catholic Church
- If single or divorced, is not living with someone with whom he/she is in a romantic relationship
- Regularly participates at Mass on Sundays and Holydays
- Contributes to the well-being of the parish at which he/she is registered
- Does not contradict the Catholic Church in serious matters of faith and morals.
Each godparent must complete a Sponsor Eligibility Form and follow the steps listed, including getting a signature from their current parish.
Remember that a godparents role in your child’s spiritual life makes them very important. It is tempting to select a godparent based on the parent’s relationship with them (siblings, best friends, etc.), but make sure that the person you select is living their faith in a way that you would want your child to emulate!