Can I be a Sponsor or Godparent?

If you’ve been asked to be a sponsor or godparent, congratulations! The role of sponsor in a young life is a very important one. According to the Code of Canon Law (892), sponsors must “take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament.” Put simply, we are spiritual parents and our primary purpose is to guide our charges in faith so that they can attain heaven.

And no, godparents do not get custody of the child should the parents die. That’s a legal matter, not one for the Church.


How can I be a good godparent or sponsor?

By being good examples of Christian faith and virtue for them to follow. After all, children learn more from how the adults in their lives live more than they do from textbooks. And how can we ask them to follow a set of standards if we aren’t willing to follow them ourselves? We can set a good example by completing our own sacramental journeys and by being practicing Catholics. This means attending Sunday mass every week and on Holy Days of Obligation, which, for Catholics, is compulsory (Code of Canon Law 1247). After all, holy observation of the Sabbath is the 3nd Commandment. We must follow all of God’s tenets in order to be in good standing with the Church.


What are the requirements to be a godparent or sponsor?

According to Code of Canon Law 874 §1, in order to become a godparent you must complete the following requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years old and mature enough to understand and accept the responsibilities of being a godparent.
  • Received the sacraments of Baptism, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation within the Catholic Church.
  • If married, you must have had the ceremony in a Catholic Church. If you only had a civil ceremony, you need to have you marriage convalidated.
  • If divorced, you must not be remarried outside of the Catholic Church.
  • Be living in accordance with the faith and morals taught by the Catholic Church. This includes:
    • If you have school age children, they must be enrolled in a Catholic school or religious education program.
    • Must receive the sacrament of Penance at least once a year. (Code of Canon Law 989)
    • Be a registered member of a Catholic parish. Most parishes, including ours, have the following requirements to be considered a member of the parish.
      • You must be attending weekly mass and on Holy Days of Obligation.
      • You must be officially registered for at least 6 months. (This means you are getting tithing envelopes in your name.)
      • You must participate in weekly tithing.


How do I get a sponsor certificate?

If you meet the above requirements, you can contact the rectory office of your parish. If you were provided a form by the parish in which the sacrament is taking place, you can schedule time to come in to have it signed and sealed by the pastor. Alternatively, your parish can provide an official letter confirming that you are an active and registered member who is fit to become a godparent or sponsor.


Will your pastor sign my certificate?

Please either provide a baptism certificate with notations of your other sacraments. We will also check your registration and tithing status to see if you have been in regular attendance for at least 6 months. If you meet these requirements, we will be happy to sign your form.

Please note that just because you received your sacraments in our parish or if you’re an alumni of the school, it does not necessarily mean that you are registered here. If you are registered, you should be receiving tithing envelopes in the mail. Unless you are under the age of 20, the registration/envelopes should be under your own name, not that of your parents. And most importantly, you should also be attending mass here every week.

If you do not meet these requirements, unfortunately you are ineligible to receive a signature from our parish. The pastor’s signature validates your good standing status in the Catholic Church. If he cannot speak to your status, because you’re not in regular attendance and he does not know you, he cannot sign.

However, do not be discouraged! You may not be able to be a godparent or sponsor right now, but if you register and attend mass faithfully, you can be one in the future.

If there’s any doubt left in your mind of your good standing status, you can also take the following quiz to help you determine if you are eligible to be a sponsor and can obtain a certificate from our parish.

Am I Eligible to Be a Sponor or Godparent?

Do you attend mass at Sacred Heart Church?