It is usual that at the time of baptism and confirmation a person has a godparent. This godparent takes on the responsibility of helping the person to live a Christian life in keeping with baptism/confirmation and to fulfill the obligations inherent in it.
To take on the responsibility of being a godparent a person:
- must be a Catholic who is not a parent of the one to be baptized or confirmed
- must have received all the sacraments of initiation;
- must live a life of faith that befits the role to be undertaken;
- cannot labor under a canonical penalty like excommunication;
- cannot be under the age of sixteen. If there is a just reason, someone of a younger age can be permitted by the pastor or the one administering the baptism or confirmation;
- must be nominated by at least one of the parents in the case of infant baptism, by the one to be baptized in the case of an adult baptism, or by the pastor or the one administering the baptism in cases where necessity requires it.
At the request of the parents, a baptized and believing person not belonging to the Catholic Church may act as a Christian witness along with a Catholic godparent. The Rite of Confirmation does permit a parent to present the candidate for Confirmation. In this case there is no godparent and the parent does not place her/his hand on the candidate’s shoulder. No godparent is noted in the Confirmation register.