How to choose the godfather and godmother

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Catherine Le Nevez
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Often the time of choosing the Godfather and godmother for baptism or for confirmation of one's child represents a critical moment, which can undermine family balance. We asked don Marco Galli of the Basilica of Santa Maria Immacolata in Genoa some advice for an informed decision.

1. The role of the godfather and godmother

First of all, a small premise is needed, clarifying the function of these two figures envisaged by the Catholic Church: «From a faith perspective, what is received in baptism, and then in confirmation, is a new life. It is as if the individual were born again and, therefore, needed a new mother and a new father. Here it is a question of a birth that symbolizes the beginning of the journey to faith and the Church has always provided figures to accompany and help the faithful on this journey ”.

While the father and mother support the child in everyday life, the Godfather and godmother they do it on the path of faith.

Read also: 6 tips for organizing baptism

2. The requirements foreseen by the code of canon law

  • that you are over 16 years old;
  • to have been baptized and confirmed;
  • to bear witness to a consistent Christian life.

"In addition, some parishes, before the ceremony, foresee two or three preparation meetings for the role and at the moment of the sacrament".

3. The spiritual requirements

The requisites of the law are also combined with those of common sense. “It is important to focus on people who share the faith, who try to live it in their life, both with words and with their choices. That they can therefore, in the future, represent a point of reference for the little one, who will be able to feel free to expose them to the doubts that life raises ".

We must then look for a person «who gives witness with his own life and actions of how beautiful it is to be a Christian. This aspect is fundamental for young people, especially in the adolescent phase, when they need to look for models outside the family environment through which to complete their identity ".

The important thing, therefore, is that the person the parents choose as godmother or as godfather is close and "accessible" to the children. "So it is better that he is not too far in years and that he is someone who usually frequents the family."

4. The moment of Confirmation

Today baptisms and confirmations in adulthood are more and more frequent, "In these cases, the godparents and godmothers do not change". But if it is a question of baptized children who, towards the age of 12, are on their way to confirmation, we must again think about who can best play this role.

«Here the participation of the boy will be decisive. Here, at this moment, the choice of the godfather or the confirmation godmother will have to be made by him together with the family: it will be important that he always choose a close person, who becomes a point of reference, especially in the path of faith ".


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