Being a Godparent
Baptism is a gift that sends us out into the world to make a difference to that world. Your role as a Godparent is to be a friend to this child who begins his or her faith journey with Baptism. Being a Godparent is a privileged role within a family. It will strengthen your bonds with the parents and it is the start of a very close relationship with this child. The invitation to be a Godparent is a clear indication that you are loved, valued, and respected by the child’s parents. With the parents, you will share in the joy – and the responsibility – of raising this child.
All of our faith journeys have moments of doubt, contrasted with moments of recognition – highs and lows. A Godparent is someone who will keep us company on that journey. It is important to be there when your Godchild’s life is good and faith comes easily, as well as when life is tough and faith is a struggle. You are asked to be friends to your Godchild – to provide listening ears when things get tough, words of encouragement and praise when he or she is doing well, and to be a source of love, laughter, prayer, and support at all times.
It is helpful for Godparents to create space and time so that their Godchild feels free to talk, knowing that he or she will be listened to and respected. As a Godparent, you will allow your values and beliefs – your Catholic faith – to shine through your life, to be a guiding light for your Godchild. This is the most effective way for you to help your Godchild – through the witness of your own life.
Being a Godparent is also about supporting the Parents. It is important for the Godparents to build on their relationship with the Parents and make sure that communication is good. If you live at a distance from the family, regular phone or email contact is a great way of keeping in touch. Lending a hand with occasional babysitting or taking your Godchild out for the day is also hugely appreciated by most Parents.
Godparents are asked to do their best to protect and encourage the flame of faith in their Godchild. This is symbolised by the lighted candle given to them during the Baptism. Even if you struggle with your own faith at times, if you believe God matters, then perhaps being a Godparent is an invitation to set out afresh on the journey of faith, hand in hand with this child.
The priests of your parish, your pastoral worker, and members of the Baptismal Preparation Team are also here to help and support you in your role as a Godparent.