Thank you for looking into the sacrament of Baptism for your child at St Mary Parish. We are thrilled that you are considering initiating your child into our Christian family. Just as you are grateful to God for the gift of your child, we are thankful to Him for the blessings that you will bring to our parish family as well. We are looking forward to sharing the journey towards Baptism with your family and a continued life of faith together.
At St. Mary Parish we have chosen a program from Ascension Press called “Belonging, Baptism in the Family of God” to help parents, and prospective godparents, better understand the importance of this sacrament in the life of your child and your family. Utilizing this online resource, you will have the opportunity to review most of the required material on your own schedule in the comfort of your home before completing the instruction at a gathering in the St. Mary Parish Center. These gatherings occur on a Friday evening with members of our Baptism Preparation team and other families like yourself. To preview the Belonging Baptism Preparation program, click this image:
If your conversation has already included discussions regarding prospective godparents for your child we recommend you watch the presentation from Fr. Mike Schmitz, “Role of Godparents”:
As Fr. Mike says. “You don’t have to be perfect to be a godparent! All you have to do is do your best to love Jesus, to love the Church, and to love this child.” At the same time, please note that there are some specific requirements for those to be considered as godparents. A godparent must be an active practicing Catholic, over 16, received your Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation, and have no impediments (e.g. Married, but not in the church).
If you have already asked someone to be a godparent please be sure to share this and the next video with them.
Fr. Mike on what it means to be a “practicing Catholic”:
During the Baptism preparation process we can address questions regarding godparents on a personal level, please be sure to contact us before making any decisions.
To begin the process of Baptism for your child please come into our parish office 9:00am - 4:00pm Monday – Thursday or 8:30am - 12:30pm Sundays.
More on Choosing Good Godparents for Your Child...
Godparents are representatives of the Roman Catholic community who are willing and able to assist you in the religious upbringing of your child.
Godparents (sponsors) of infants and others preparing for baptism are committed Roman Catholics who are chosen by the parents or by the person to be baptized. They serve as role models and promise to assist in the religious formation of the child or adult.
Contrary to popular opinion, Godparents do not possess legal rights to care for your child should you become unable to do so. Nor do they assume legal custody of children in the event of the death of both parents. The role of a Godparent is not legal but spiritual. Godparents are people chosen by you, who will play an important role in the faith-life of your child. During the baptism liturgy, your Godparents will be asked to publicly profess their faith and will promise to assist you in the Christian upbringing of your son or daughter.
Consequently, it is important that the persons you choose be mature and deeply committed to living their Catholic faith. In order to assure this, church law proposes the following requirements for Godparents:
- Godparents must be adults (at least 16 years of age).
- They must be fully initiated members of the church, having received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.
- They must be regular participants in the worship and life of the parish.
- If they are married, they must have entered into a marriage covenant recognized as valid by the church.
- Above all else, they must in your estimation, be persons striving to live their lives consistently with the teachings of Jesus Christ who you feel would be excellent role models.
Usually, two persons are chosen by parents to assume the responsibility of Godparents. However, it is acceptable to simply choose one Godparent, or not have any. Godparents are usually asked to present a "sponsor letter" before the baptism that has been signed by their pastor, attesting that they are active members of the Catholic community. For Baptisms celebrated at Saint Mary Parish we ask that the Godparent(s) present their sponsor letter before the date of Baptism is scheduled. If this is not possible they are asked to participate in baptism prep meetings and conversations, along with the parents, with either the deacon or pastor of St. Mary Parish.
If only one Godparent is chosen, a non-Catholic Christian may be invited by you to participate as a "Christian Witness," in place of a second Godparent. The "Christian Witness" is invited to participate in the baptismal liturgy and religious upbringing of your child insofar as he or she is able. Of course, it is important that the person you choose be someone who you feel is deeply committed to his or her Christian faith.
Baptism is the beginning of your child's life in the church. It is our hope that the persons chosen by you at the font of Baptism will inspire and lead your child to a deep faith in God as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. If you have any questions or concerns concerning Godparents, feel free to discuss this with the deacon or priest preparing with you for the baptism of your child.
Some thoughts for further reflection
- Are the people I'm considering as Godparents genuinely interested in the religious/spiritual upbringing of my child?
- Do they have a good understanding of the role we are asking them to play in the life of my child?
- Will they be a regular and active part of my child's life?
- Are they willing to share and discuss their faith and values with us, and eventually with our children?
For more information about choosing Godparents click Godparents and Sponsors Catholic Update.