RCIA sponsor assignment

Can a friend outside the Parish where I am enrolled in RCIA be my sponsor?

You should ask at your church. It is allowed as far as I remember. When my daughter was making her confirmation, she was told the sponsor had to be “local.” That turned out not to be true…

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My sponsor was in a parish an hour away -


Any Catholic who meets the requirements may be your sponsor


A Catholic, who has received the Sacrament of Confirmation and is at least 16? years old. Most priests also prefer that the Catholic, is a practising Catholic, and not one who spends Sundays on the sofa instead of going to Mass or living a life in sin.

I think some details can vary by parish, but at my last RCIA session the minimum requirements were laid out for us. Sponsors must:

Be fully initiated Catholics (Baptized, First Communion, Confirmed) in good standing
At least 16 years old
If married, must be married in the Church
If unmarried, must not be cohabiting (AKA living in sin)
Able to attend at the very least the Sacrament Mass (Easter Vigil)

Often a parish will require that a sponsor from another parish bring a letter from their pastor, stating that they are Catholic in good standing. It’s routinely done, and parish offices can easily handle it.

This isn’t a parish to parish thing. It is in canon law.

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.

There are parishes that do not check to carefully who they allow to be sponsors but according to canon law sponsors must meet the following conditions in all parishes.

  1. Be at least 16 years old
  2. Have received the sacraments of initiation
  3. If married they MUST be in a sacramental marriage (generally meaning married in the church, but if they are a convert and had a valid marriage prior to conversion, they would meet this standard)
  4. If single they MUST be living as a faithful Catholic single should.
  5. The sponsor MUST be able to receive communion (They should be making use of the sacrament of reconciliation as needed)

Technically the sponsor doesn’t have to attend the Vigil. A proxy may be used and the sponsor will be recorded as the official sponsor in records. It’s best if the sponsor is there but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

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As the DYM in my parish I do this for our confirmation candidates. If they are known in our parish, we go ahead & approve them. If they are from another parish or are not known well in ours we require proof, such as a copy of a marriage certificate or they must have their parish sign a form stating they are a Catholic in good standing.

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Thank you. It is always better to go to the source rather than depend on human memory.

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