The Role of a Godparent

The true commitment of godparents is often overlooked. Being a godmother or godfather means being a friend, role model and confidant to their godchild, and a special advisor to the parents.
The Role of a Godparent

Last update: 10 May, 2018

Being chosen as a godmother or godfather for a baby is a great honor for a close friend or relative of a new parent. Being a godparent is a lifelong commitment and a pleasure that only the people dearest to us get to enjoy.

In many cases, from the moment a couple finds out they’re expecting a baby, they begin to look for godparents. Typically, it is the dad who chooses the godfather, while the mom selects the godmother.

The parents-to-be are the ones responsible for this decision, and they must choose wisely. After all, according to Christian tradition, the baby’s godparents are responsible for the baby’s spiritual life.

The godmother and godfather are also expected to take on the role of parents if anything should happen to mom and dad.

This is a very important role, and one that lasts a lifetime. Choosing the right people can be a difficult task.

What is the role of a godparent?

In theory, godparents are the people who will take care of a child if for any reason their parents aren’t able to. In some cases, sadly, it becomes necessary for a godmother or godfather to take on this role.

However, being a godparent is about much more than this. In Catholic families, godparents are in charge of the child’s religious education. In general, being a godparent means providing spiritual guidance and setting a good example.

All this means that godparents must want to be part of the child’s life. They must help their godchild reach their goals, celebrate their achievements and support their parents at decisive moments.

A godmother or godfather doesn’t always need to be a blood relative, but they’ll always be part of the family. Being a godparent requires conviction, responsibility and an interest in the child’s spiritual wellbeing.

Together with the new parents, the godmother and godfather must support the child’s education and contribute to their development throughout their life.

The Role of a Godparent

Don’t be afraid of taking on this tremendous responsibility.

Being a godparent means feeling secure in the role that you play in the child’s life. This will help you fulfil your duties and be a positive part of your godchild’s upbringing.

The Catholic church recommends that godparents lead by example by living as good Christians and regularly attending mass. Godparents are expected to pray for their godchildren daily and give them religious gifts, such as bibles and rosaries.

However, some families of other faiths choose trusted friends or relatives to play a similar role in their children’s lives.

Requirements for being a godparent

A key requirement is that the person chosen to be a godmother or godfather must be at least eighteen years old.

This will ensure that they’re mature enough to live up to the role. Exceptions to this rule do exist, however.

To take part in the Catholic baptism or christening ceremony, the godparents must be Catholic themselves.

They need to have received First Communion and Confirmation, and must practice their faith. They cannot be people who have been excommunicated from the church, and must not belong to another religious faith.

“Being a godparent requires conviction, responsibility and an interest in the child’s spiritual wellbeing”

There is an exception to these rules if the godparent is the older brother or sister of the baby, and is under fifteen years old. In this case, the godparent will need to have completed their First Communion, or be ready to do so.

This can often work well, since an older brother or sister lives in the same home and is usually more involved. When the time comes for the child’s Confirmation, their godparents can change or stay the same.

The Role of a Godparent

Strategies for godparents

There are some strategies or activities that can help a godfather or godmother fulfil their role.

To start, try to establish traditions, such as a special gift when the child gets a good grade or going out for birthdays.

Additionally, at the baptism or christening, the godmother or godfather should write a letter to their godchild. This allows the new godparent to reaffirm their unconditional support for both the child and the parents.

The godmother or godfather should accept their responsibilities with open arms.

Visits from a godparent should generally focus on the child. The child should feel important and know they have their godparents’ full support.

The most important part of being a godparent, however, is to carry out all of these important duties with love and good will. Support your godchild through good times and bad.

Being a godparent means being part of the child’s family and playing an important role in their upbringing.







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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.