Parent as a Confirmation Sponsor


#1

I have a bit of a unusual situation. My mother and I aren’t Catholics but my father is. My family talked to our parish and they’re not just allowing us to be baptised but confirmed as well. Now, our family doesn’t have any Catholic friends and our Catholic relatives live abroad. One of the elderly Sisters said that it should be alright to have my father act as the confirmation sponsor for both of us.

I didn’t say anything about it at the time but from what I understand, a parent cannot be a confirmation sponsor.

I know this is kind of a stupid question since I’m going to look for a new sponsor anyways but there should be no way of getting around this because of canon law, correct? So if sponsor was my parent, then would that mean my confirmation was technically invalid? And has it always been the case of having a non-parent as a confirmation sponsor?


#2

I have a bit of a unusual situation. My mother and I aren't Catholics but my father is. My family talked to our parish and they're not just allowing us to be baptised but confirmed as well. Now, our family doesn't have any Catholic friends and our Catholic relatives live abroad. One of the elderly Sisters said that it should be alright to have my father act as the confirmation sponsor for both of us.

I didn't say anything about it at the time but from what I understand, a parent cannot be a confirmation sponsor.

I know this is kind of a stupid question since I'm going to look for a new sponsor anyways but there should be no way of getting around this because of canon law, correct? So if sponsor was my parent, then would that mean my confirmation was technically invalid? And has it always been the case of having a non-parent as a confirmation sponsor?

If you are close to your Catholic relatives abroad, and they are practicing Catholics, ask one or two of them to be sponsor and all you will need is a proxy to stand in for them. I hope this helps. Canon Law does not allow you to use a parent.


#3

Your relatives abroad may be your sponsors, they will have a proxy stand in.

Also look in the parish for wonderful examples of the Faith.


#4

[quote="Castello, post:3, topic:276233"]
Also look in the parish for wonderful examples of the Faith.

[/quote]

Yes, I'd ask your RCIA director or pastor.


#5

You are correct, your parent cannot be your sponsor.


#6

Who will be your baptism godparent? If you are a catechumen seeking full initiation into the Catholic Church—Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist—your godparent(s) for Baptism (at the Easter Vigil?) should also be your sponsor(s) for Confirmation.


#7

[quote="onjac, post:1, topic:276233"]
I have a bit of a unusual situation. My mother and I aren't Catholics but my father is. My family talked to our parish and they're not just allowing us to be baptised but confirmed as well. Now, our family doesn't have any Catholic friends and our Catholic relatives live abroad. One of the elderly Sisters said that it should be alright to have my father act as the confirmation sponsor for both of us.

I didn't say anything about it at the time but from what I understand, a parent cannot be a confirmation sponsor.

I know this is kind of a stupid question since I'm going to look for a new sponsor anyways but there should be no way of getting around this because of canon law, correct? So if sponsor was my parent, then would that mean my confirmation was technically invalid? And has it always been the case of having a non-parent as a confirmation sponsor?

[/quote]

Does your Parish have a thriving youth ministry? I think as long as they are 16 years of age (like a baptismal godparent) they could be the person's sponsor. My parish's youth ministry has let youth ministry members be sponsors for RCIA candidates that do not have anyone outside family or suitable to do it. In fact it brought to us another young man into our ministry too thanks to the awesome sponsorship of our youth ministry member (and he's very devout! He's even completing an overseas Catholic youth mission in Asia!). You could keep in touch with the person and they could serve as a role model for them and both of you could learn and carry out the mission of the faith properly together!


#8

I've been a Sponsor / Godparent to each of my sister's children when they were received into the Church at Easter Vigil. She picked me (along with our aunt & uncle to share the role for the children) as I am Catholic and set a good example as one.

I knew when I was confirmed that I could not pick a parent. That was emphasized by the catechist the year I was confirmed both during classes with my peers and later meetings where a parent & the sponsor attended with us. I did not know many in my family close by to me that were practicing Catholics at the time, and chose my Aunt who was also my Godmother at Baptism as I knew for a fact she fit the criteria. My sister (who now no longer goes to Mass regularly) picked a good friend's mother who is also a practicing Catholic for her Confirmation sponsor.


#9

[quote="Anna_Claire, post:6, topic:276233"]
Who will be your baptism godparent? If you are a catechumen seeking full initiation into the Catholic Church—Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist—your godparent(s) for Baptism (at the Easter Vigil?) should also be your sponsor(s) for Confirmation.

[/quote]

I don't have a godparent. But good point. I should be thinking about that too since of course, Baptism comes first.

[quote="YoungCanRCMale, post:7, topic:276233"]
Does your Parish have a thriving youth ministry? I think as long as they are 16 years of age (like a baptismal godparent) they could be the person's sponsor. My parish's youth ministry has let youth ministry members be sponsors for RCIA candidates that do not have anyone outside family or suitable to do it. In fact it brought to us another young man into our ministry too thanks to the awesome sponsorship of our youth ministry member (and he's very devout! He's even completing an overseas Catholic youth mission in Asia!). You could keep in touch with the person and they could serve as a role model for them and both of you could learn and carry out the mission of the faith properly together!

[/quote]

I don't know actually. The parish I originally went to had a youth ministry but it's (extremely) inconvenient for me to go there so I go to the one in my hometown for individualized RCIA lessons. Tbh, I don't think this parish actually has an RCIA program at all. I've been to this parish many times before and I've seen young children and seniors. But I don't recall seeing anybody my age over there.

But yeah, I should ask around for it.


#10

[quote="onjac, post:1, topic:276233"]
...r.

I know this is kind of a stupid question since I'm going to look for a new sponsor anyways but there should be no way of getting around this because of canon law, correct? So if sponsor was my parent, then would that mean my confirmation was technically invalid? And has it always been the case of having a non-parent as a confirmation sponsor?

[/quote]

SPONSORS
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.

I read this to say that while one should have a sponsor it is not critical to the validity of the sacrament.

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.

As I recall the older Canon Law was stricter. It also forbid spouses to be sponsors. This was sometimes a problem because being a sponsor became an impediment to marriage. this is no longer the case in the Western Church. I am not sure about the East.


#11

"I don't have a godparent. But good point. I should be thinking about that too since of course, Baptism comes first."

Actually you should be thinking about Baptism first. Confirmation is a deepening of the gifts given to us at Baptism. What about Eucharist? Are you preparing for all three sacraments of initiation?


#12

[quote="Anna_Claire, post:11, topic:276233"]
"I don't have a godparent. But good point. I should be thinking about that too since of course, Baptism comes first."

Actually you should be thinking about Baptism first. Confirmation is a deepening of the gifts given to us at Baptism. What about Eucharist? Are you preparing for all three sacraments of initiation?

[/quote]

From what I talked with the Sister, I am preparing for all 3 sacraments of Initiation but we had to rush to Mass the last time we talked so our conversation was mostly focused on the first two. Does this change anything as to what I should be planning right now?


#13

[quote="onjac, post:12, topic:276233"]
From what I talked with the Sister, I am preparing for all 3 sacraments of Initiation but we had to rush to Mass the last time we talked so our conversation was mostly focused on the first two. Does this change anything as to what I should be planning right now?

[/quote]

If it's done the traditional way you will be baptized, confirmed and receive Communion for the first time all in the same ceremony at the Easter Vigil. You need a sponsor (godparent) for Baptism and the same person is with you for Confirmation since it's done almost immediately after.


#14

Yes…what Phemie says is correct. How exciting for you!! The Easter Vigil isn’t that far away. Don’t feel pressured because you can receive the sacraments at any point after Easter. Better to be sure and be prepared properly. Talk to Sister more about what is expected.


#15

[quote="Phemie, post:13, topic:276233"]
If it's done the traditional way you will be baptized, confirmed and receive Communion for the first time all in the same ceremony at the Easter Vigil. You need a sponsor (godparent) for Baptism and the same person is with you for Confirmation since it's done almost immediately after.

[/quote]

[quote="Anna_Claire, post:14, topic:276233"]
Yes...what Phemie says is correct. How exciting for you!! The Easter Vigil isn't that far away. Don't feel pressured because you can receive the sacraments at any point after Easter. Better to be sure and be prepared properly. Talk to Sister more about what is expected.

[/quote]

:doh2:

I almost forgot that it's going to be done in the same ceremony. Hope I don't panic since it will be close to Finals week.

:harp: But it's so exciting!!! I can't wait!!!

Thanks so much everybody!


#16

It will be a day you will never forget! But again, if you are feeling too much pressure (finals)…you can do it at another time. Prayers and best wishes!


#17

Okay, I didn't want to bump this thread up. I was able to get a proxy and my aunt to act as my sponsor. But I have another question.

So apparently, the Sister (whom I've been taking private RCIA lessons with) says that she just talked to the Bishop and he says that it's okay to have a parent as a sponsor. I'm not going to try and contradict her if she talked to the Bishop about it.

But...

If that's the case, how does Canon Law work? (I only have a basic idea of the Church hierarchy system)


#18

If the bishop said that, he may not have understood what she was asking.

When you’re going through RCIA you’re supposed to have a sponsor. That may be a parent – or it may be a stranger who’s part of a pool of parish volunteers who do this on a regular basis.

But at the Rite of Election, the godparent(s), chosen by the catechumen, takes over. Sometimes the catechumen will opt to have his sponsor also be his godparent so the sponsor assumes that role and nothing changes. However, since ones parents cannot be ones godparent, if your sponsor is one of your parents then you’d have to get a different godparent.

It’s confusing because Canon Law doesn’t use the term ‘godparent’, it uses the word ‘sponsor’. And the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults uses both terms to refer to two different roles.

I’ll quote the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, article 10 & 11 in the Canadian edition (the article numbers vary by country):

[LIST]
*]10. A sponsor accompanies any candidate seeking admission as a catechumen. Sponsors are persons who have known and assisted the candidates and stand as witnesses to the cadidates’ moral character, faith, and intention. It may happen that it is not the sponsor for the rite of acceptance and the period of the catechumenate but another person who serves as godparent for the periods of purification and enlightenment and of mystagogy.
[/LIST]

[LIST]
*]11. Their godparents (for each a godmother or godfather, or both) accompany the candidates on the day of election, at the celebration of the sacraments of initiation, and during the period of mystegogy. Godparents are persons chosen by the candidates on the basis of example, good qualities and friendship, delegated by the local Christian community, and approved by the priest. It is the responsibility of the godparents to show the candidates how to practice the Gospel in personal and social life, to sustain the candidates in moments of hesitancy and anxiety, to bear witness, and to guide the candidates’ progress int eh baptismal life. Chose before the candidates’ election, godparents fulfill this office publicly from the day of the rite of election, when they give testimony to the community about the candidates. They continue to be important during the time after reception of the sacrements when the neophytes need to be assisted so that they remain true to their baptismal promises.
[/LIST]


#19

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