One of the most grateful titles a Catholic can be asked by another is to be a sponsor
for a loved one.
A common misunderstanding of a sponsor, aka godparent, is that they are to take
care of the child if the parents pass away. The role of the sponsor is to care for the
spiritual well-being of the person being baptized or confirmed.
A sponsor is a practicing Catholic who has received all the Sacraments of Christian
Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation). They cannot be under canonical
penalty, nor can they be the parents of the child being baptized, nor the parents of
the adult being confirmed.
A sponsor helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism
and to fulfil faithfully the obligations inherent in it. (Code of Canon Law) A sponsor
should not be chosen merely because one is a family member or a close
friend. Choosing a sponsor should be done carefully. In fact, once the baptism or
confirmation has taken place and the sponsors were present for it, the title of being
the person’s sponsor can never be removed.
Unfortunately, it has happened that family arguments break out between choosing
sponsors and even setting up the baptism date. Having the child baptized sooner is
more important than delaying it so that everyone can be present.
Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks; as
soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to
request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it. (Code of
Being asked to be a sponsor is a wonderful honor. The person that asks you feels the
presence of Jesus Christ within you. You have been asked because in a way God wills
it. Jesus wills that you lead one of His children to His Heart.
In Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Jeff Yildirmaz