The Role of Godparents

Congratulations you have been chosen to be a godparent. From its very title you can see that this role is connected with "God" and therefore belongs primarily to the realm of the spiritual and the holy. It is not a reward for past deeds, and certainly not connected with civil guardianship or future care of the child. Your new role is a sacred responsibility, entrusted to you "now" to participate and share in your new godchildís Christian life and education. What a privilege! Full of potential and yet somewhat daunting! You have been chosen from the countless family members and friends the parents of this child have, to share in this most intimate and special way their primary parental responsibility of bringing their child up in the Christian faith and "to keep Godís commandments as Christ taught us"
(taken from the Rite of Baptism)

Dear parents and godparents: you have come here to present these children for Baptism. By water and the Holy Spirit they are to receive the gift of new life from God, who is love. (Rite of Baptism)
During the opening rites of the Liturgy of Baptism, the godparents are addressed in the following manner "Are you ready to help the parents of these children in their duty as Christian parents". Presumably, after due reflection you will be ready to answer "Yes". In other words, your role is to assist the parents in guiding their child to know God and to belong to his Church in the fullest way possible. As a Christian and now as a godparent, allow the liturgy of baptism to speak directly to you, not just about your new role but also as fellow traveler along the road of faith. Pay special attention to the forms and symbols used: the waters that wash away sin and restore us to new life in Christ, that new life signified in the white garment, the oil of chrism that brings both healing and strength and sets us apart for the work of the Kingdom and of course that lighted candle symbolizing that Christ and his Gospel has become in the words of the psalm a "light for our feet", guiding us along the road of faith. Thi s is why, at its very heart, your relationship with your new godchild is a "spiritual" one. Of course as with any special relationship the affection that underpins it can be demonstrated in practical and giving ways.

Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1253)

  • Over the next few years try some of the following ways to nurture and develop this spiritual relationship:
  • Keep a note of the date of the Baptism and on each anniversary celebrate the day with a visit, a card, an appropriate gift (such as a bible, religious books/goods, jewelry etc) or a phone call.
  • As you godchild grows in his/her knowledge of the Christian faith try to be present to encourage and share your own Christian faith and values.
  • Send assurances of prayers and blessings to your godchild.
  • Always speak well of the gift of our Christian faith and the need for regular prayer and worship of God.
  • Mark each sacramental milestone in the life of your godchild with a special card or appropriate gift.
  • Try to be present for his/her reception of First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation.
  • Be supportive of your godchildís parents in their role as Christian parents and primary educators of their child. Use this wonderful opportunity to review your own faith life and practice.
  • Become a model of Christian living for your godchild through the practice of daily prayer, weekly attendance at Mass and an active and full participation in the life of your own parish.
  • When the initial delight and pride of your choice as godparents has evaporated you still remain in this sacred responsibility, a responsibility you undertook before God and his Church, in response to that invitation.
  • Try to remain faithful to that invitation and active in the life of your godchild. It is after the Baptism ceremony that your real work begins!
  • Remember always, that it is only by living a full Christian life that you both will experience the great and joyful potential this relationship has to offer.

Congratulations once more and may God bless you and your new godchild.

© Copyright Saint Bernadette's Catholic Church - Port Kennedy 2018.
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