How to choose a sponsor
Have you ever wondered why some people have very involved godparents and sponsors, while others don’t even know theirs? Perhaps part of the problem is that many godparents and sponsors were chosen for the wrong reasons, or because those same people don’t really know what they’re supposed to do! Do you? This update will help us to better understand these roles.
Take Kevin, an eighth-grader who will be confirmed at the end of the school year. He has asked his cool older brother, Mark, who goes to college 300 miles away, to be his Confirmation sponsor. Mark, who looks like he just stepped out of the latest teen TV show, knows how much Kevin idolizes him, but he feels a bit uneasy about being a sponsor. Mark respects Kevin’s faith and his decision to be confirmed, but he really hasn’t gone to church or practiced his faith these last few years. Should Mark be honest with Kevin, and “just say no”? Should he not say anything and just accept? Or should Mark accept, but take a new, more serious look at his own faith?
Confirmation can be a great experience, and hopefully you’ve thought a lot about what this sacrament means, and how the Holy Spirit will affect your life. You’ll be required to have a sponsor-someone who will guide you and share the story of faith with you. A good sponsor will make this process a little easier and even more fun.
If all has gone as planned, the best person will be one of your baptismal godparents. The Catechism (#1311) and canon law (#892-893) both tell us that you need a sponsor. Having one of your godparents helps us to see how Baptism and Confirmation are connected. Sadly, by the time they get to Confirmation, many young people no longer know their godparents, or they’re no longer good role models. Or maybe they just live too far away. These young people will need to choose a new sponsor.
Some advice to the candidates: You’re looking for someone you trust, whose faith you admire and who will be there for you. The requirements mentioned for godparents earlier also apply to sponsors: that they be confirmed Catholics, at least 16 years old (for maturity) and practicing members of the Church, while not being your parents. This means you can choose a relative, friend or someone from your parish as your sponsor. Remember Kevin and his brother Mark of uncertain faith that we mentioned earlier? Let’s see how all this applies to them.
As much as Kevin admires his brother, Kevin shouldn’t choose Mark as a sponsor. And Mark shouldn’t accept either. He isn’t a bad person, but Mark has some faith issues he needs to work out first. Right now, Kevin needs someone who is active in church, can share why faith is important to him and who lives close enough to help Kevin with his preparation. So in choosing a sponsor, Kevin needs to take all these things seriously. So do you! Pray about it, and when you think you have the right person, ask him or her to help you grow in faith by being your sponsor!
Taken from Catholic Update-William F. Wegher