The Church takes very seriously the important role of being a sponsor for the Sacraments of Initiation. Choosing a sponsor would be based on the person’s dedication to the Faith and regular practice thereof. For those seeking letters of eligibility as Sacramental Sponsors, you must be:
- 16 years or older,
- fully initiated (Confirmed) member of the Catholic Church in Full Communion,
- if married, the marriage must be one recognized by the Catholic Church,
- practicing your faith as a registered, regularly attending member of our parish.
Certificates are not issued to anyone who does not meet these criteria.
We receive many requests for sponsorship letters for Baptisms and Confirmations. A sponsorship letter is a letter from the pastor of the parish attesting that the person is eligible to be a sponsor. The Church, and not the pastor, defines eligibility. To be a sponsor for the sacrament requires that you are a registered member of the parish in good standing with the church, and that you attend Mass regularly and support the church to the best of your ability. Most people who are asked to be sponsors qualify without any question. However, several times a month the pastor is asked for a letter from persons who he does not know or recognize, or who are not in good standing with the church and who infrequently or never attend Mass. If we do not know you, and have no record of your attendance at Mass, we cannot in honesty issue a sponsorship letter. Using envelopes is a good way of tracking, but it is not the only way of assuring that you are a practicing Catholic, and an appropriate spiritual role model for a young person about to receive the Sacrament. If you are asked to be a sponsor, and we do not know you, please provide some evidence that you are in fact a practicing Catholic, and if you are not, please don’t ask the pastor to change the rules for you.
Canon Law Regarding Sponsors:
If you would like to review the church law regarding sponsors, we have printed below the Canons that pertain to Baptism and Confirmation for your greater understanding:
SPONSORS (for Baptism)
Can. 872 Insofar as possible, a person to be baptized is to be given a sponsor who assists an adult in Christian initiation or together with the parents presents an infant for baptism. A sponsor also helps the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it.
Can. 873 There is to be only one male sponsor or one female sponsor or one of each.
Can. 874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must:
1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function;
2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age, unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause;
3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on;
4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared;
5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized.
- 2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.
SPONSORS (for Confirmation)
Can. 892 Insofar as possible, there is to be a sponsor for the person to be confirmed; the sponsor is to take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament.
Can. 893 §1. To perform the function of sponsor, a person must fulfill the conditions mentioned in Can. 874.
- 2. It is desirable to choose as sponsor the one who undertook the same function in baptism.