I would like to address the topic of Sponsor Certificates as it often tends to be a difficult practice for people to under- stand. When a child or adult is being baptized and/or confirmed, it has been a long tradition of the Church for them to have one or more Sponsors. The purpose of a Sponsor is to be an example of the faith to the person they are sponsoring. One can think of the role of a sponsor in the AA program where a person seeking sobriety has a sponsor to help them through the 12 Steps and to be available to them as they work out a life of sobriety. The concept closely resembles Sponsorship in the Church. A person who is being baptized can be helped tremendously by the guidance, prayers, and example of someone who is already living the life of a baptized Christian, and in our case, according to the Catholic Tradition. In order for someone to be this kind of Sponsor, they of course need to be qualified to act in that role and in that unique relationship. Using the example of an AA sponsor, a person starting to live a life of sobriety is not going to be helped by a sponsor who is not sober themselves or not knowledgeable about how the program works. There- fore, the Church wisely puts forth these qualifications for a sacramental Sponsor:
1. They must be at least 16 years old
2. Be a Catholic who has received the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist & Confirmation)
3. Leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken
4. Not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized The age requirement calls for the necessary maturity for someone to take on the responsibilities of this role. The reasons for the second qualification should be obvious: that someone has received the sacraments themselves. “Leading a life in harmony with the faith” would include things that the sponsor should and should not be doing. For example, they should be attending Mass weekly. If married, should be in a marriage that is recognized in the Catholic Church (in other words, their marriage should be sacramental which means they were married before a priest), and if not married, they should not be living with someone outside of marriage (cohabitation). These would be the minimum requirements
for living a life in harmony with the faith.
The problem we face regularly is this: people ask some-
one to be a sponsor who is not qualified to act in that role. This becomes awkward for those who have asked and for those who have been asked. Hence the need to make people aware of these qualifications.
Due to space constraints here I will continue to provide more information on how to obtain a sponsor certificate in next week’s bulletin. But I ask you to clip this article out & keep it for future reference. And feel free to share it with anyone you know who may be asked to be a sponsor in the future. Next week I will offer information on how to obtain a sponsor certificate. st
Father Vesely will be here next Saturday, Sept. 21 , to celebrate the 4pm Mass so as always we welcome him and keep him in our prayers.