In recent years looking at the yearly statistics coming from the Bishops' Conference of Korea we see the signs of serious problems within the church. The attendance continues to drop and we have the search for pastoral programs and alternative ways of giving life to the community.
A pastor writing in the Peace Weekly recommends to the church-at-large to look again at our tradition of Godparent and to strengthen the bond between the newly baptized and the Godparent. In Korea because of the relatively small number of Catholics they usually have one Godparent, the same sex as the person being baptized. The tradition served well its purpose to guide the newly baptized to spiritual maturity.
The reason for the reappraisal of the beautiful tradition within Catholicism is that at present it has become a formality and meaning lost. When this is done out of custom this leads to apathy and weakness of the community of faith and departures from the parish community.
Godparents have the responsibility and duty to care and guide their Godchildren on the road to spiritual maturity. They pray for their Godchildren, and to do this they need to grow closer to God and become channels of God's grace to their Godchildren. Nowadays, the whole system is losing its importance and the meaning turned into an empty custom.
The spontaneity to become a Godparent is disappearing. When qualified: those with a devout spiritual life, exemplary members of the community are asked to be Godparents often they respond with a shaking of the hand, and refuse. They have already too many to take care of or feel not fit for the job. Often the priests and sisters have to beg the Godparents to assume the task. The second problem at present is the connection between the Godparent and Godchild is weak and after baptism, they very quickly become separated. At the baptism, they were only formally present and lacked responsibility as Godparent. Often after baptism, they forget who the Godparent was. Eventually, the apathy and departure from the community are made easy without the mentoring of a Godparent.
Some Protestants have implemented a mentoring system to care for the new believers. They are spiritual guides and counselors to the new believers. This is very similar to the long tradition in Catholicism. Our great treasure has become a mere formality and its meaning lost.
The relationship is one in the Holy Spirit and should be lasting and have a positive impact on the Christian child's religious life. There are many ways to maintain the relationship between Godparents and Godchild. First by regular meetings, secondly be with them as they become catechumens and attend some of the classes. Thirdly, have events for the Godparents in the parish and remind them of their relationship with their Godchild. Fourthly, use their smartphones to connect with their Godchild and lastly attend Mass with the Godchild once a month.
He recommends programs for the Godparents to remind them of their relationship and need for prayer. He concludes the article with the example of St Paul the apostle and his spiritual son Timothy as a good model of what a Godfather should be.