Role of godparents

This topic contains 23 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  shazbo 7 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #74181

    shoshanna

    Can someone explain the role of godparents to me? I think it is a neat idea, but I also don’t really understand their role in the child’s life. How does the relationship work? How do you choose godparents?

    #205341

    Poleczech

    DH and I are godparents to my brother’s two sons. Picking godparents is a personal choice, but one should pick godparents you, yourself, have a good relationship with. The godparents (at least in the Catholic church) are supposed to be practicing Catholics who assist the child’s parents in guiding the child “on the road to Christian life.” We happened to be married, but the godparents do not necessarily have to be married to each other. In fact, my godparents were married to each other, and neither were three out of four of my sibling’s godparents. I have a close bond with my godparents and with my two godsons, and DH and I do take our role seriously. We have already thought about who we will chose as godparents for our child when we are able to adopt one of these days, because of the bond we have with them. Does this make sense?

    #207087

    HappyMomAnna

    I believe that God Parents started as part to the Catholic Church and the Baptism Ritual. And Poleczech explained it very well. I also think that in the past it was also a way to provide parents for a child in case something happened to the parents….the God Parents would assume the responsibility for being sure a child had parents…I think it may have that the God Parents over saw who cared for the child and made decisions until they were happy with who was taking care of the child–if the God Parents didn’t do so themselves. Since it was a Church record the God Parents in the old times had legal standing because they were selected by the child’s parents….sort of like we do now with a will.

    I think many people Like the God Parent idea and have adopted it as a symbolic thing in their families today. I have heard of families say, “So and So is the God Mother of my son…” but, have found out it was not necessarily a church service or even any other ceremony that gave so and so the title…so I believe in many cases today God Parents are symbolic and people the parents have selected to care about their children and serve as good role models….

    #208080

    mcmama

    You know, Anna, I am looking back at your post and I have heard people say that too – or sometimes in hispanic families, the “godparent” is actually someone the child was named for, but there may or may not be a religious connection. I guess that is something in the translation.

    Active Godparenting is such a wonderful thing – it really means stepping up to support the child in their walk with God. My kids have had great relationships with their Godparents, and I have three Godsons – only one is official, but since they are triplets I maintain a relationship with all three.

    #208949

    beth

    As Poleczech mentioned, the traditional role of the godparent was to both provide spritual guidance and be a back up parent in case of the natrual parents death. I gues in the days of high death rates during birth, and a much lower life span, godparenting was an extremely important role.
    These days, is is sadly become watered down at times, and people who are godparents often have no idea of what the role traditionally entailed. They just think it is a nice complement on the day of the christening! But for any child, having an extra set of loving and caring “parents” who will look out for them is certainly a positive.

    #209090

    seeemilywrite

    I think the role of godparents change depending on the family and the parent. my brothers godparents player an active role in his life grwing up and still do. Mine on the otherhand, I’m not even sure what their names are. Our families lost touch while I was still young.

    #209112

    beth

    [quote=seeemilywrite]I think the role of godparents change depending on the family and the parent. my brothers godparents player an active role in his life grwing up and still do. Mine on the otherhand, I’m not even sure what their names are. Our families lost touch while I was still young.[/quote]

    It’s sad when that type of thing happens, given that having good godparents can only be a positive in your life. Kind of negates the whole meaningfulness of the practice. Obviously it;s best to think long and hard about who to pick as godparents, instead of automatically choosing an aunt and uncle who couldn’t care less, or a set of friends because they asked you to be godparents to their kids. Kids need all the help they can get growing up–in olden days the role was to protect against the early death of the parents. That is less likely now, but these days parents need more eyes in the back of their heads, I think!!:)

    #209147

    mcmama

    [quote=seeemilywrite]I think the role of godparents change depending on the family and the parent. my brothers godparents player an active role in his life grwing up and still do. Mine on the otherhand, I’m not even sure what their names are. Our families lost touch while I was still young.[/quote]

    I had this experience too, when I was baptized there were very few Catholics in the area so my parents chose my aunt and the Catholic son in law of one of their neighbors. My aunt was a part of my life, but after we moved my godfather was someone we saw only occasionally. A nice guy, he did his best, but the expectations were different then. Also, I don’t think they allowed people to stand in at the time – the idea was if you were the Godparent, you had to be present at the actual baptism. Even if they had, coming from a mixed family we just did not have many male relatives or friends who were Catholic.

    I think things are a bit more flexible now.

    #359143

    AmyMCGS

    [QUOTE=HappyMomAnna] I think many people Like the God Parent idea and have adopted it as a symbolic thing in their families today. I have heard of families say, “So and So is the God Mother of my son…” but, have found out it was not necessarily a church service or even any other ceremony that gave so and so the title…so I believe in many cases today God Parents are symbolic and people the parents have selected to care about their children and serve as good role models….[/QUOTE]

    Being a cradle Catholic, I was very confused when my husband’s family (who don’t attend any church) thought we chose godparents because that meant that the person would automatically get custody of the child if the parents died. There are definitely differences in how people use the word “godparent”.

    #359549

    jenn29

    The roles have been really well explained here. Keep in mind, too – that you can choose (not for both, but for one) someone who is not a Catholic to be a godparent. Technically, they are referred to as a “Christian witness” instead of a godparent.

    We chose my sister (Catholic) and my BIL (dh’s brother), who isn’t Catholic. While the Church may see him as simply a Christian witness, in our eyes, he is most definitely our son’s godfather.

    Just wanted to put that out there so that those who may be in a “mixed” marriage know that they can indeed choose someone from a different denom. to be a godparent to their child.

    #359892

    QueenAngie

    I am the Godmother to 4 nephews and 1 niece. In our family, it means special cards and gifts on birthdays, Christmas, holidays. And when the child goes through Confirmation, being part of the celebration.
    My boys have always sent Mother’s Day cards to their Godmothers and Father’s Day cards to their Godfathers, as well as a special Christmas gift to them as well.
    Two favorite Godmother Christmas gifts that I have received include a Godmother ornament for the tree and a Godmother angel.
    It is a special honor to be asked to be a Godparent.

    #373866

    BrRichSFO

    [quote=shoshanna]Can someone explain the role of godparents to me? I think it is a neat idea, but I also don’t really understand their role in the child’s life. How does the relationship work? How do you choose godparents?[/quote]

    In the early Church Adults were prepared for Baptism by 2 or 3 years of instruction and were kept isolated from the Christian community to some extent. Simply because you never knew who you could or could not trust. So a person inquiring into this new “Christian faith” was given a contact person or sponsor to help instruct them and help them along. As we moved away from adult Baptisms and to more and more infants in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The Sponsor turned into what we see as Godparents today. Parents are the primary teachers of the Catholic faith to their children and Godparents are to assist them in doing this. Canon Law requires that all Godparents meet certain requirements. They must be practicing Catholics registered at a parish, in good standing with the Church. More and more today Godparents are required to provide a letter from their pastor stating that they are registered Catholics and practicing. Only one Godparent is needed, either a male or female, or one of each. You cannot have two females or two males. They do not need to be related to each other in any way. You can choose them or your pastor can suggest someone from your parish.

    #374323

    mcmama

    [quote=jenn29]The roles have been really well explained here. Keep in mind, too – that you can choose (not for both, but for one) someone who is not a Catholic to be a godparent. Technically, they are referred to as a “Christian witness” instead of a godparent.

    We chose my sister (Catholic) and my BIL (dh’s brother), who isn’t Catholic. While the Church may see him as simply a Christian witness, in our eyes, he is most definitely our son’s godfather.

    Just wanted to put that out there so that those who may be in a “mixed” marriage know that they can indeed choose someone from a different denom. to be a godparent to their child.[/quote]

    So BroRich, is this correct? It sounds like a great way to accomodate mixed marraiges. Jenn were there any special permissions needed?

    #374335

    BrRichSFO

    [quote=mcmama]So BroRich, is this correct? It sounds like a great way to accomodate mixed marraiges. Jenn were there any special permissions needed?[/quote]

    It is correct that for solemn Baptism there must be one qualified Catholic Godparent of either gender. A second Catholic Godparent of the opposite gender can also be present or a Baptized non-Catholic Christian of the opposite gender of the Catholic Godparent, in good standing with their ecclesial community can be present. They are not a Godparent but simply a Christian witness and generally should not be recorded in the Baptismal register or noted on the Baptismal certificate.

    Catholics are also not permitted to be Godparents at non-Catholic Baptisms. for the same reason. Godparents help the parent raise the child in the faith. If a Godparent is not of the faith they cannot possibly do this.

    #374565

    shazbo

    well im a god parent to my sisters daughter im not cathlic or my sister none of us have even been christen im not marrid . my role of god parent is if any thing happens to my sister i am there to look after my god child and bring her up

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