Sponsors and godparents in the Christian initiation process

5 thoughts on “Sponsors and godparents in the Christian initiation process”

  1. Mrs. Leslie Shaw Klinger, OP

    We have always used the two interchangeably BUT as our understanding of the RCIA process grows, we are looking to put together a Sponsorship Team that would be available to accompany the seeker up to the Rite of Election. To that end, we are developing a kind of ‘school’ that will be open to anyone interested so that we can demonstrate both the need and the amazing opportunities for those who wish to grow in The Faith.

    1. Hello!
      Thank you for your creativity and service to your community. The idea of helping form current and potential sponsors and godparents is great! I am sure that growing in their relationship with God and with the life of the Church will help each participant become an even better disciple and companion in the initiation process. The discernment of gifts for the ministries of accompaniment is an awesome process in itself! God bless.

  2. While I could attest to all stated by the author and/or describe the challenges of recruiting parish sponsors, I’d like to instead highlight the “what comes after?” phase. It is critical in my opinion to get the neophytes immediately engaged in parish ministries. We suggest one ministry that supports the Liturgy and one other that supports the community. We hold a Time, Talent and Treasure session during the Mystagogy period to explore opportunities and match with their desires or perceived skills. Oftentimes they first enter a ministry in which their sponsor is active. In this way we truly develop the potential for long term spiritual growth.

    1. Hello, Bruce. Thank you for your comments. I understand that the Time, Talent and Treasure -type sessions are usually delegated to the Mystagogy period. By that time the godparents/sponsors and team members as well as some members and ministry leaders of the parish have gotten to know them and can help with their discernment of gifts for service and witnessing in the parish and the wider community

      We have found that the process of involvement in parish life during the Catechumenate period has been especially helpful in having both catechumens and candidates feel more connected and become better known in the community during their formation. In addition to meeting and accompanying other members of the parish in a chosen activity, they also get to share in a conversation with the larger group about what their experiences have meant for them in their faith formation and growth. That’s part of what we read in # 75.2 and # 75.4 — both in getting to know members of the community and in having opportunities to work actively with others to witness. They learn from their sponsors, godparents and others in the community as well and may feel more ready to take on active participation in the mission of the Church as lived out by committed parish members.
      Thank you for your commitment to Initiation ministry and the life of your parish! God bless.

      1. I understand. Our biggest challenge is two fold. First, a reasonable number of sponsors are family members from out of town or belong to another parish. Second, we operate on that old 80/20 rule where volunteer sponsors are also deeply involved in other ministries. Now where we make a difference is with Annulments and Marriage Prep. My wife and I are our parish’s sole Annulment Field Associates as well as one of several Marriage Sponsor Couples. In that role we are intimately involved with over half of Catechumens and Candidates. This year out of 15 adults we have six Annulment cases and two Marriage prep. We also have three folks joining via Google Classroom due to their work or college schedules. Been like this for years now. Then we have another 21 who are mostly Hispanic in the 7-15 age group. There we have yet another challenge of “documentation fear”.

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