The Code of Canon Law specifies certain requirements when it comes to sponsors/godparents for baptism.
Code of Canon Law
872 Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it.
873 There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.
874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:
1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;
2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;
3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;
4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;
5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.
§2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.
Important points to remember when choosing godparents and preparing for your child's baptism:
The Church requires only one godparent, however two are usually chosen – one godfather and one godmother.
At least one must be an active, practicing Catholic in good standing.
Godparents must be at least sixteen years old, have received First Communion and Confirmation.
Only two godparents can officially be listed on the baptism certificate and in the baptism register book.
Typically a parish will require godparents to provide a sponsor certificate or letter from their parish stating they are active, practicing and eligible to be a godparent. Some parishes require godparents to attend a baptism class.
If you choose to have your child baptized at a parish other than your own you might need to provide a permission letter from your parish stating that it’s okay to have your child baptized outside of your parish.
When you are preparing to have your child baptized contact the parish where you want to have the baptism to find out exactly what they require, as it can vary slightly from parish to parish.
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Peace in Christ,
© Melissa Knoblett-Aman