Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Questionnaire on Godparents

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.

The Weekly 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.

55 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. 

How 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. 

Serious 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.                           

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