Good article on the importance of Godparents in the spiritual formation of baptized infants and children. Secular society has limited it to just a title given to a close friend but the spiritual ramifications of being a God parent are well beyond just gifts and being a friend of the parents.
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The article, Godparents: Faithful Examples to Their Spiritual Children, by Judy Roberts states,
“Denice Hinojosa has no children of her own, but she is a spiritual mother to seven.
Ever since Hinojosa, of Fremont, Ohio, became a godmother in 1989 to her niece, Monica Mingus, she has taken to heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s directive (1255) that she be a “firm believer” who is “able and ready to help the newly baptized — child or adult — on the road of Christian life.”
For her, being a godmother is clearly more than an honorary title — as the Church intends. When, as a teen and recent convert, she became one, she said, “I knew that I was expected to be a spiritual mother for Monica, especially in her faith, to be there and to help guide her, and I’ve always taken that very seriously.”
Godparents trace their origins to the early Church in which sponsors would vouch for the integrity of candidates for baptism, Eucharist and confirmation and help them prepare for receiving the sacraments and living as Christians. In the case of infant baptism, the sponsor would make a profession of faith for the child and agree to instruct him or her in the faith if needed. The term “godfather” came into use around the year 800, when infant baptism became the norm. It remains today, although, technically, godparents still are considered sponsors.
Canon law requires that a prospective godparent be at least 16 years old, have received the sacraments of Eucharist and confirmation and be leading “a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken.” The age requirement can be changed by a bishop or waived by a pastor if deemed appropriate.”
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