Being the Godfather – What is the role really about?

LF63Being a Godparent is a great honour, but besides answering some questions at the baptism, what does it actually entail?

For most people today, a Godparent, especially a male one, calls to mind images of horse’s heads in beds. After all, arguably the most famous gangster film of all time was named after this special relationship and ends with a baptism too. But Francis Ford Coppola’s epic aside, the responsibility is one which means more than just standing about at a ceremony.

As the CTS leaflet Baptism – Being a Child’s Godparent explains, they are meant to be a model of the life of the disciple. They are also making the promises on behalf of the infant, who is “in-fans”, that is, “not speaking”.

The leaflet also gives guidance about who can be a Godparent. This includes Christians of other denominations, who can undertake the task together with a Catholic Godparent. As with the role of the confirmation sponsor, which we looked at yesterday, the best example a Godparent can set for their Godchild is to be a faithful and committed follower of Jesus themselves. They have the task of helping the child to protect the grace they have received in the sacrament, praying for them and with them is a large part of this task.

Non-Christians are not permitted to be Godparents since they cannot be expected to be a witness to Christ for the child, since they do not believe in him.

Although the prospect of a rich and powerful Godfather who solves problems by decapitating valuable animals may be attractive to some people, what the Church desires for the baptised is something quite different, a Godparent who can help develop the spiritual life of those who have become part of God’s family and had their sins washed away by Him.

A pack of 25 Baptism – Being a Child’s Godparent leaflets is available from CTS priced £5.95

Of related interest:

DO712 Baptism – Baptism involves the use of ordinary things-water, oil, white garments, lighted candles-which carry a specific significance, some of which seem obvious while others take a bit of unpacking. The purpose of this booklet is to provide an introduction to baptism in the Catholic Church.
PA12 The Role of a Christian Mother – After summarising the incredible physical, psychological and intellectual challenges of motherhood, Anna Melchior goes on to describe the rewards and gives useful tips, reflections and discussion which can help experienced Mums or Mums-to-be to value their role and its importance for the family, for society and for the Church.
PA6 Passing on Faith to Your Children? – This booklet explores what kind of faith we are to pass on to our children, and then gives practical help on how to best give children a positive, rich and complete experinece of Catholic Christianity.

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