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What Are the Duties of a Godparent?

by Steve Jonathan

Godparenting is an age-old tradition. A godparent is essentially a spiritual guide to the child. More often than not, the godparent is someone outside the immediate family who follows the same faith. At the time of baptism, the child is unable to answer the questions that are asked of him; this is the role that the godparent fulfills and in turn assures that she will guide this child spiritually throughout his life.

Choosing a Godparent

While choosing a godparent, most couples think of someone who is close to the family and follows the same faith and values as themselves. Finding the right godparent for your child is easy. Finding someone who genuinely cares for the child, someone who has a moral and spiritual compass that will enable him to be a role model for the child during her lifetime, is the primary goal. A godparent also acts on behalf of the child's parents. The godparent steps in when the child's parents are unable to provide religious or spiritual training.

During the Ceremony

At the ceremony, the godparent is there with the parents, the child and the priest. The godparent hands over the child to the mother. The godparent attends mass for the first three Sundays along with the child and the family ensuring to be a part of the child's spiritual upbringing. The child is not able to talk, understand or respond during baptism. The godfather here fulfills the commitments on the child's behalf.

Role of a Godparent

The role of a godparent doesn't end with the ceremony. He has to be the supportive pillar for the child and must show keenness and interest in the upbringing of the child. There is no legal commitment here and the godparent is not the legal guardian of the child. The godparent is not accountable to the youth financially and is not expected to adopt the child if her parents die during the child's upbringing years.

Responsibilities

Godparenting is a great responsibility. The godparent must ensure that the child is well versed in the fundamentals and practices of his religion and must be keen in the other aspects of the child's life as well. Those will include birthdays, holidays, graduation and any other special event in the life of the child. Godparent and the child might live in different houses or might have great physical distances between them, but the godparent should ensure that he allocates some time for the godchild and visits him often.

About the Author

Steve Jonathan started professional writing in 1989. He has more than two decades of copywriting experience and has worked with publishing houses such as Penguin Group and HarperCollins. Jonathan received a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism from the University of Leeds and a Master of Arts in creative writing from City University London.