Baptising my girls & family issues--HELP


I’m the only Catholic–and a convert, at that!–on my entire side of the family, both paternal and maternal. In fact, I don’t think there’s EVER been anyone Catholic on my side of the family, ever. My husband, however, has a few Catholic relatives, but they’re quite far away from us.

Two sweet girls are getting baptised soon (next month, if I can plan it that quickly!), and I have a problem: no one to choose for Godparents or sponsors. I suppose I could find someone in my parish, but that doesn’t feel right because I’m not “close” to anyone there yet (and I don’t want a sponsor or Godparent merely for the sake of having one, KWIM?). Or, I could choose one of my husband’s relatives and risk offending my ILs who are Lutheran (though my MIL was born Catholic, and they really wouldn’t be “offended”, per se).

Plus, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t plan the girls’ baptisms for a time separate from any Mass. That way, all my non-Catholic family (both mine and my husband’s) won’t feel “left out” when it’s time to partake Eucharist. But there’s part of me that feels like the girls’ baptisms SHOULD take place within the sacrifice of the Mass, which I’d love.

I’m so confused–can anyone shed some insight? Has this happened to any of you? If so, what did you end up doing? Any advice would be greatly welcome.


Your girls only need one godparent apiece but it has to be a Catholic in good standing. You could ask one of your Catholic in-laws to be the official godparent and one of your family members to be the Christian witness. (That’s the official Church terminology but you don’t have to tell them that :wink: )

While many parishes encourage Baptisms to be done during Mass, I would speak to the pastor about doing it separately. Many times, they encourage couples who have mixed faith families to have weddings without a Mass for just the reason you mentioned. My own kids were baptized outside of Mass and my current parish does it at the sparsely attended Saturday Mass.


BREATHE! Suck in through your nose, breathe deeply, and exhale through your mouth. Do it again and again until you are calm.

You are making mountains out of molehills. Jillions of children before yours have been baptized. Hopefully, jillions more will be baptized before the End of the World.

Only ONE godparent is necessary. If there are two, then there must be one female and one male- no doubling up on genders.

You can use the same person or set of persons for both girls. You can also choose to even complicate this more and give them each 2 different people. But, you’re having trouble finding folks to fill this position as it is.

If you want to ask your husband’s relatives to be godparents, but they live far away- The person or people chosen can send in their paperwork (proof via their own parish that they are practicing Catholics with no impediments) to your parish. If necessary, the chosen ones can also attend any sacramental prep in their own parish. Most parishes like this on real paper, at least faxed, but prefer something in the mail- no email!

Now then- ANYBODY can proxy for them. To proxy means to represent a person.

So, as an example, if you want your husband’s Aunt Ida to be the girls’ godmother; but if Aunt Ida, good Catholic that she is, is off in mission country in darkest Peru, you can have Aunt Ida’s parish or mission send your parish a letter saying Aunt Ida is a practicing Catholic in good standing. Your sister, Marlys, can stand in for Aunt Ida, even if she is Lutheran.

Another way to be inclusive is to have one Catholic godparent and one non-Catholic (Lutheran) as a Christian witness. The non-Catholic in question is not a godparent in the sense the Church means godparent, but stands at the baptistry and witneses the event. It is this person who is listed as Christian witness. As there is only ONE (Catholic) godparent in this instance, there is only ONE Christian witness.

As an another example, your husband’s brother, Gerard, is filling the honors as godparent. Your sister, Marlys, stands beside Gerard as Christian witness, and her name is recorded as Christian witness on the baptismal register.

As to time and place, that is usually governed by your pastor and the parish. I wouldn’t worry about all the Lutherans not going to communion if the girls are baptized at Mass, if that is the normal way to do things in your parish. By this time, the Lutherans have figured out they cannot receive, and if it rankles them that much, well, they can stay home and make jello for the party after (my :twocents: anyway). The emphasis during a baptism is entirely different than the emphasis during a nuptial Mass of a mixed marriage, where one of the happy couple is not receiving comunion. :wink: At a Mass where infant baptism is performed, the emphasis is on which baby cried the loudest when the water is poured or when the babies are immersed, and which child has the cutest outfit.:wink:


Putting everything back in perspective. :bowdown2:


As a parent of one child, and soon to be another, I was thinking the other day - why don’t they have an online Godparent finder? Not as a way to get around the requirement, but as a way for Catholic persons to find Godparents when in situations like the above. My wife and I were, and will be again, in a similar situation. Many of our family members are Catholic, but are not “active” - so we had a tough time finding someone. Just a thought you know - they have dating, chat, user groups etc. all over the place, but no online Godparent hookup. You could get to know the person well in advance and it would also provide people with an opportunity to help others…


:wink: I am the self-appointed campaign manager for Loren 1of6, who is running for the position of godparent on another thread. Loren is a practicing Catholic who is willing to be the role model you desire for your child. If not, I highly recommend BlestOne, puzzleannie (if she’s willing- what a powerful godparent she would be!), Brendan and cargopilot. I’ll have a compendium of prospective godparents by the end of the week.:wink:


I am the only catholic in my family. I joined the church 19 years ago Easter. I was also a teen mom at that time and had to find Godparents for my baby. I went to my Deacon and the people he suggested I actually knew from the neighborhood I grew up in. Why worry so much about others feeling left out? Maybe they will be converted through your children’s baptism and attending a mass with you. I have family members who are considering RCIA classes and if they hadn’t attended mass with me here and there they would not even be thinking about it. This is a blessing and I hope you can relax and feel Christ’s blessings.


This is hilarious! :smiley:

As for the OP, please contact your parish right away! They will have guidelines for how things are done there (in a mass, not in a mass, etc.). They can also let you know what the criteria are for a godparent.

While I realize the ideal is for us all to have tons of close friends who and devout, practicing Catholics, that is hardly the reality. But what a better way of making a close friend–or having an older couple as mentors to you, than asking someone from your church’s RCIA program, Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary, etc who you can develop that close relationships with??


Same boat- both my husband and I are converts- NO “Papists” on either side of our family :rolleyes:

For the baptisms of our first two, we “imported” friends back home to do it. Luckily, they were able to make the trek down to the wilds of Mis’hippi, and be there- otherwise, I would have asked the very nice old man from Wednesday Rosary to be proxy for them (he would have loved it).

For baby no. three, I solicited a family from our homeschool group.

My point (like I have one) is that for the first children, we had the baptism as part of Mass, but that was because no family attended. This time, ALL the family, from parents to siblings to cousins are making the trek down to the wilds of Mis’hippi, so we’re doing it AFTER Mass- that way, those who aren’t comfortable rubbing shoulders with the “Papists” can, as TheBurbs put it, stay home and make jello, but STILL show up for the baptism (of course, the really anti-Catholic ones equate infant baptism with child sacrifice, but hey, you can’t please all the people all the time, right?)

Anyway, ask your priest. He’ll be able to put you in touch with someone from the parish who can be a Godparent. And you just might make a new family friend.


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