Can a spouse be an RCIA sponsor?

I hesitated to start a thread just for a question but didn’t know who to ask since classes begin tonight.

My wife will be taking RCIA classes. We do not have any friends who are practicing Catholics (we have many who are non-practicing). This puts her (us) in a bit of a tough situation if I cannot be her sponsor. I read on a web page that I, in fact, can be.

Any input would be much appreciated.

In the Parish I went to for RCIA, and in my current parish - a spouse cannot be thier spouse’s sponsor.

They do suggest that the Catholic spouse can act as sponsor for someone else in the class - then they can more share the experience.

We had no close friends here when my DH went through, the parish had volunteers to be sponsors, and we made friends of a wonderful family that way. Ask the RCIA team leader, they will find you a sponsor.

I am my wife’s sponsor (she will receive first communion Nov 7!) and have been for 13 months. My parish has no problems with it. Also, my mother was my father’s sponsor 20 years ago. I don’t believe there is a problem with it but I’m sure the parish has the final say on this. They’ll let you know tonight I’m sure, but it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s really a neat thing to sponsor your spouse. Makes the Rite of Acceptance really special.


I do believe that it is up to each parish to decide. At ours, it is generally discouraged for one to be a sponsor to their own spouse. The reasoning being, that not only will the candidate or catechumen benefit from the spouse’s knowledge at home, but also from another Catholic’s knowledge too. And it tends to relieve any pressure the candidate or catechumen may feel to please their spouse in joining the Church. Also, at our parish, sponsors are automatically assigned, unless someone comes in with a strong, practicing Catholic friend that they would like to have as sponsor.

With that said, I think if a person had a very strong desire to have his or her spouse as a sponsor, it might be worked out.

A spouse can be godparent at the Rites, but I strongly discourage having a spouse or close friend as sponsor. It carries too much baggage from the relationship into the conversion. I prefer a stranger who represents the parish and can have an objective eye.

I have from time to time allowed a spouse, in-law, etc to be sponsor when someone dug their heels in. They never seemed to bond with the parish or the group as well. They tended to a me and Jesus type of religion. The choice of sponsor could be either the cause or the effect in these cases.

I do encourage a spouse or friend to go through the program with the candidate if possible.

We were in the same boat at you when I converted. New town, no Catholic friends. The Church appointed a sponsor. My wife did answer a lot of questions and provided a great deal of support.

Where are you located? Maybe you can find a sponsor here.

After receiving some of these suggestions I find I actually like the idea of a third party (stranger) sponsor. I hope the class offers this option. My wife would be much quicker to dispute anything I say then she would someone else (out of politeness if nothing else). Sometimes I think spouses contradict one another for the sake of contradicting one another. I’m also a little concerned about her motive(s).

Her primary motive is that she wants us (immediate family) to “belong” to a church. I think if I went the evangelist way (I am a revert, about 1 - 2 years now)instead of the Catholic way, she’d be just as content with us having joined a Protestant denomination. She believes in and loves Jesus, loves involving herself in charitable causes etc. But beyond that her investigation into the faith has not been deep. I’m hoping this goes well, the Catholic faith has strict doctrine as we know (for the best of reasons yes, but none the less strict). I’m not sure how she is going to react if these issues become heavily debated in the class experience. I think it will all come down to presentation. Please pray this goes well??



There is a Catholic Family ministry called Couples For Christ which would help. They were there when my wife and I were struggling with the Church. Check them out at and contact me if you have any questions.

In our parish, we discourage spouses from becoming sponsors. Part of the role of sponsor is to help the RCIA team discern whether the candidate is ready to become a Catholic. We believe that a spouse might have difficulty being objective. Also, as someone already mentioned, it’s helpful to have another’s point of view.


the parish is supposed to supply the sponsor for RCIA, some confusion here because the sponsor is not supposed to be the godparent. The sponsor accompanies the catechumen throughout the process of the catechumenate and through the Rite of Election, but the godparent is the one who stands up for them at baptism and confirmation. This person can be a spouse, but not a parent. The sponsor is the one who represents the parish, and hence the wider Christian community and draws the catechumen into the life of the community.

At my parish this is allowed. My wife was my sponser seven years ago. It worked well for us.

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