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Godparents & Sponsors for BAPTISM
Saint Ann’s Basilica Parish
1250 Saint Ann Street
Scranton, PA 18504
BAPTISM & CONFIRMATION TODAY
The practice of celebrating the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation in the Catholic Church began with Jesus. Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist and commissioned his disciples to “go out to all the world and spread the good news baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. And in Acts 8:14-17, “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”
Our life of faith in the Catholic Church begins in Baptism and matures through Confirmation. The importance of these sacraments has been recognized throughout the centuries, however, the understanding of their importance has faded. Rather than understanding that Baptism is the introduction and initiation of our faith life which needs to be nourished and practiced throughout our lives, many stress the importance of Baptism as opening the gates of heaven for the baptized person when they die. Rather than understanding Confirmation as the recognition of a faith-life that was received at Baptism and has been cultivated to maturity since then and now is ready to make a mature commitment to live this faith-life throughout adulthood, many stress the importance of Confirmation as the last step in formal religious education which provides the person with the opportunity to be married in the Catholic Church.
In order to address the prevalent misunderstanding of Baptism and Confirmation, here at St. Ann’s we insist that new parents attend an instruction class before their child is baptized and that confirmation candidates participate in a 2-year preparation program.
In today’s world we face many challenges to our life of faith. Recently, Pope Francis highlighted some of these contemporary challenges and asked us to return to the foundation of faith in building our morals and lifestyles. Pope Francis recognizes the faith challenges that we face today and offers some direction and advice.
POPE FRANCIS MESSAGE
Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others(something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure... Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is
a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.
When the people of God are converted to his love, they find answers to the questions that history continually raises. One of the most urgent challenges which I would like to address in this Message is precisely the globalization of indifference.
Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians...
We need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.
THE ROLE OF GODPARENT & SPONSOR
Perhaps the two most important phrases and functions of the Godparent and Sponsor are “companion on the faith journey” and “role-model of faith” in today’s world.
We all recognize that living the life of faith in today’s world is challenging and having trusted and experienced persons who can be confided in is important. That is what Godparents and Sponsors are expected to provide.
CHOOSING GODPARENTS & SPONSORS
The title “Godparent” at Baptism or Sponsor at Confirmation is not simply an honorary title. In the mind of the Catholic Church it is a commitment, a job description, and a responsibility. Godparents and Sponsors are, along with the person’s parents, a person’s guide on the Catholic Christian life’s journey. They will help shape the person’s faith by sharing their own. For this reason it is important that those selected to be Godparents or Sponsors are living “role models” of the Catholic faith for those being Baptized or Confirmed.
To evaluate the readiness of the Godparent or Sponsor to fulfill their role and their responsibilities, the Catholic Church has established the following criteria.
To qualify as a Godparent at Baptism or a Sponsor at Confirmation, all the following requirements must be fulfilled:
?- the person must be at least 16 years of age
?- the person must have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist (Communion) in the Catholic Church
?- the person must attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation
?- the person must strive to lead a Sacramental life through frequent reception of Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) on a regular basis
?- if married, the person must be in a marriage that is recognized as valid by the Catholic Church. (Married according to the proper procedure and form and blessed by the Catholic Church.)
?- if not active and registered members of St. Ann’s Parish, godparents must obtain written permission from their own pastor to be a godparent