Regulations for Sponsors of Candidates for Baptism and Confirmation

Who may be baptismal sponsor/godparent?  Insofar as possible, one to be baptized is to be assigned a sponsor.  In the case of an adult baptism, the sponsor’s role is to assist the person in Christian initiation.  In the case of an infant baptism, the role is, together with the parents, to present the child for baptism, and to help the child live a Christian life befitting of the baptized, and faithfully to fulfill the duties inherent in baptism. 

One sponsor, male or female is sufficient but there may be two, one of each sex.  It is prohibited to have either two male or two female sponsors.  To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:

Be appointed by the candidate for baptism, or by the parents, or by whoever stands in their place, or (if necessary) by the pastor, parish priest, or minister, and is to have the qualifications and the intention of fulfilling this role;

Be not less than 16 years old;

Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;

Not to be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;

Not be either the father or the mother of the one to be baptized.  N.B. These criteria are the same for those who would sponsor a candidate for confirmation.

     A baptized non-Catholic Christian, i.e. a  baptized non-Catholic Christian maybe a witness to the baptism, and only together with a Catholic sponsor.  Non-Catholics and non-Christians may not be sponsors for baptism and confirmation.

     Because the sponsor must be leading a life in harmony with the faith, the person, if  married must be in a valid marriage recognized by the Church.

     A baptismal sponsor may act through a proxy.  One who is to act as a proxy for a sponsor must meet all of the same requirements the sponsor must meet.  The proxy must be the same gender as the official sponsor.  A parent or stepparent may not fulfill the role of proxy for the sponsor.

     A baptized Catholic who does not meet the above mentioned requirements may not act as a Christian witness.  A non-practicing Catholic (one who does not attend Mass, or has left the Catholic Church to practice another religion) may not serve as a Christian witness.

    One’s own pastor normally issues sponsor certificates, which declare that one is fit to serve as a sponsor for a candidate for baptism and confirmation.  These are ordinarily presented to the priest or deacon administering the sacrament.

Baptismal Symbols

  • Water – The waters of baptism recall Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Water is a symbol of cleansing and renewal as we begin a new life in Christ. We are washed clean of sin.
  • Oil – At baptism we are anointed into the life of Christ as “priest, prophet and king.” A cross is traced on the candidate’s forehead as a reminder that we are inheritors of the Kingdom of God.
  • Light – The baptismal candle is lit from the Paschal or Easter candle that stands in the church as a sign of Christ’s light in the world. At baptism, we receive the light of Christ and are called forth to share this light with the world.
  • White garment – The white garment that is placed upon us at baptism is a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and his glorious resurrection. Likewise, the white garment or pall that is placed over the coffin at the time of death recalls our baptismal promises and reminds us that we are destined for eternal life.

While in ordinary circumstances, sacraments in the Catholic Church are administered validly by a member of the ordained clergy, in an emergency situation, the sacrament of baptism can be administered by anyone.

In case of necessity, any person can baptize provided that he have the intention of doing that which the Church does and provided that he pour water on the candidates head while saying: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (CCC 1284).


Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)


Baptism Preparation Class: Parents must attend one class before the Baptism of their 1st child. Class will only meet when families preregister.  

Sponsor Certificate

Role of Godparents

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