Godparents for the baptized is a tradition seen in many Christian groups. Tertullian, in the 200s AD mentions the use of godparents in his book on Baptism. In the early Church the baptized were mostly adults, and had a godparent of the same sex. They assumed the responsibility as mentors for the newly baptized.
The Peace Weekly has a 'cover story'
on godparents and their godchildren. Godparents are to guide their
godchildren in the life of faith but this is not what happens. Often it
is only a name that goes in the baptismal book, and merely a formality
that one follows, without meaning. Godparents are to pray, and lead their godchildren in imitating Jesus but few take the
responsibility with any seriousness.
prepared a questionnaire that was given to 446 parishioners to determine
the situation in the present Church. According to the questionnaire over 50 percent have no contact with their godchild. 38
percent of the godchildren have no contact with their godparents. 15
percent do not know who their godparents are.
percent say the distancing from the godparents came from the lack of
contact. 25 percent said that they didn't know the godparent when they
were baptized so quickly lost contact. To prevent this from happening a
priest is quoted with five steps to be a good godparent. Praying for
the godchild, talk and listen to them, study to answer their
questions, introduce them to the liturgy
of the Church, and keep in contact with the godchild.
is the situation going to improve? One suggestion in the article from a
Sunday school teacher recommends to match the godparents with the ones
to be baptized into three groups: infants and children, young people, and
adults-- for infants close relatives, for young people Sunday school
teachers and devoted young people, and for adults,
members of the different societies in parish communities.
efforts to change the way godparents are chosen and programs to educate
those who are in such a spiritual relation will do much to change the
atmosphere of a parish and make for a community of faith.