How to Select Godparents for a Catholic Christening

Written by karen worthy
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How to Select Godparents for a Catholic Christening
Choose the right people to be your child's godparents. (Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Selecting godparents for your child is a significant responsibility. Godparents are responsible for helping raise your child in the faith to become an active Catholic adult. According to canon law, there are many rules for who can, and cannot, become a godparent. Choose godparents who you believe will fulfil their duties and help you raise a religious child.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Church Requirements

  1. 1

    Check to be sure that at least one of the godparents is a practicing, active Catholic. Only one godparent needs to be Catholic. The non-Catholic godparent will technically be called a witness instead of a godparent but can participate in the ceremony with the godparent. Active Catholics are required because the role of the godparent is to help teach the child about the faith.

    How to Select Godparents for a Catholic Christening
    Choose a Catholic godparent for your child. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Verify that the godparent is an adult, both by age and by rites received in the church. Officially, the godparent must be at least 16 years old. Also, he must have received confirmation and the Holy Eucharist in the Catholic church. These rules ensure that he is mature, responsible and educated enough to assume the godparent's duties.

    How to Select Godparents for a Catholic Christening
    Receiving the Eucharist and being confirmed serve as rites of passage. (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  3. 3

    Select someone other than the baby's mother and father for the godparents. According to canon law, the mother and father are not able to also serve as the godparents. The parents are already committing to raise their child in the Catholic religion by baptising him. The godparent serves as an additional person to help with that pledge, either to supplement the parents' teachings or to assume responsibility if the parents are unable to teach their child about the religion.

    How to Select Godparents for a Catholic Christening
    Parents cannot be the godparents for their baby. (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

    Personal Requirements

  1. 1

    Ensure the godparents are willing to attend baptism preparation classes with you. Many churches require the parents and godparents to attend preparation classes to ensure that they understand the meaning of the baptism, the steps for the procedure and the role each person is expected to play in the life of the child.

    How to Select Godparents for a Catholic Christening
    Attend baptism classes to prepare for your baby's ceremony. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Choose godparents who will be a part of the child's life. Godparents who live nearby are much better equipped to help coach the child and be a part of his religious upbringing. Many children choose their godparents as their confirmation sponsors when they are teenagers, so having a godparent who lives nearby can help with that process.

    How to Select Godparents for a Catholic Christening
    Godparents who live nearby can be there for your child's special events. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    Pick a godparent for the right reasons. Choose someone who you respect and who you believe can help your child grow. Do not choose someone simply because you owe him a favour or he is convenient for the ceremony.

    How to Select Godparents for a Catholic Christening
    Choose someone you respect to help raise your child in the faith. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

  • Choose the godparents before the baby is born.
  • Do not choose a Catholic godparent who does not share your faith and activity level in the church.

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