RCIA - having a sponsor younger than you


I am 17 (18 in less than a month) and soon I will be starting RCIA. The thing is, none of my relatives are Catholic, and I don’t have family friends or that sort of figure in my life that is a practicing Catholic.

This one person that i’ve been talking to ever since I discerned concerting is a practicing Catholic. He is very involved within his parish along with my schools campus ministry. He is confirmed. He is very open about his faith and he’s not afraid to talk about Jesus or to answer questions people have about the Church. He is even discerning the priesthood! When considering who could be my sponsor, I immediately think of him.

The thing is, he is my age (well, a few months younger than me) and i’m just not sure if it would be acceptable for him to be my sponsor. I have not asked quite yet, and i’ve tried googling answers to this, but i’m not getting anywhere. Therefore, I have decided to come on here. What do you guys think? I really don’t know what to do.


This doesn’t really matter. I was my own father’s sponsor when he entered the Church. Given everything else you’ve said, this person would be a good sponsor.



To add another successful case along with Father’s, my sponsor is younger than me by a couple years. She has been a fantastic sponsor and I have never regretted asking her.


This is kind of funny - I’m of retirement age and just realized my sponsor was younger than me :slight_smile: I mean, I knew she was younger, but never thought about it in terms like the OP!


This is a matter which is at least in part up to whomever heads up RCIA. The question is best addressed to them; they may say yes, or no, or some variation between the two.

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Hello @Egc424,

First off, I’m super excited for you. I wish you all the blessings on your journey of faith. It’s just as much a blessing for me to see young people inspired by the promise of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I have to commend you as well for asking such a thoughtful question. This is a big deal, a big decision, and to ask this question shows a lot of humility and maturity on your part.

I think age is relative to the point of his maturity in our faith…I would say.

Our Catholic Faith is a big world. Just learning who is God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is a lifelong task in and of itself but learning what our Catholic Faith teaches us with regards to interpretations of scripture, our catechism, our traditions, etc adds a ton, but is very important in discovering Truth!

Don’t let that scare you. I am the RCIA coordinator for my parish and I have a lifelong amount of learning and discerning ahead of me too. Growing in faith is a process.

Furthermore, RCIA is a very important step in this journey but you can’t learn everything about our faith in that period. The RCIA process itself is not meant to have a set time table…So don’t feel rushed or pressured to get Baptized and or confirmed by next Easter. =)

If this young man, your friend, whom you are considering as your sponsor is practicing our faith in alignment with our beliefs as Catholics, I would personally be okay with that.

Is he part of the RCIA team for your parish? Not knowing who he is myself, I might suggest you do as @otjm suggested and ask your RCIA team about him.

It’s one thing to have trust and a comfort level with your friend but another thing to make sure you are getting authentic Catholic teaching. To put it plain and simple. How do you know what he is sharing with you is right? I’m making assumptions but its the question I think you are ultimately concerned with.

If he is discerning the priesthood, then perhaps he has also spoken with the priest at your parish. I would ask that priest too.

Age is relative. We have younger people who sponsor older people all the time and vice versa. As the RCIA coordinator, I would try to discover a few things about this individual before I make an assessment. If he is as you describe him, I wouldn’t see a problem.

Hopefully, that was helpful be it long-winded.

Peace & Blessings

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I am twenty some odd years younger than someone I sponsored. Don’t worry about it.

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I would just like to add (as no one else has yet, and perhaps others judge it not necessary to be mentioned in these circumstances) that the only thing I am aware of is that the sponsor is to be at least 16yrs old, unless the Diocesan Bishop or Parish Priest considers there is a just reason for an exception. There are other requirements to be met as is set out in Code of Canon Law Chapter IV Sponsors

Speak to your RCIA coordinator at your parish, and/or the priest as he at least would know this young friend of yours and be able to judge his suitability.

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Sounds like he would be a good sponsor!


Actually, as long as the proposed sponsor meets the canonical criteria, the “team” does not have authority to reject them.

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I’m curious. You might have to explain that one. How can one have a godparent younger than oneself?

If you are a teen or adult when baptized, you might have a younger godparent.

Is the term Godparent at that point?

Your sponsor at baptism is often referred to as your godparent, but the canonical term is sponsor.

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I’m a convert who converted while I was in college. I was never baptized, so since I was going to be baptized, I got to pick two sponsors, who I call my godparents.

My wife and I were both converts. I was her sponsor. I would never say I was her godfather!

But as @JulianN pointed out above, “godparents” are just colloquialisms; the Church doesn’t technically acknowledge the term - it’s ‘sponsor’ for anyone at baptism or confirmation, whether infant or adult. So rest easy; no need to be a godfather to anyone if you don’t want to be. :grin:

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Because you’re married! :stuck_out_tongue: They actually seem fond of the titles, so we stick with it.

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It is weird. My kids definitely have godparents. But to say I married my goddaughter is a weird thing. So when the poster said their godparent is younger than them it it just seems like a funky and inappropriate use of a colloquialism. I like the canonical term better.

We weren’t married at the time. Do you consider it a title, or just a nickname you are fond of?

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