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Author Topic: Godparent / Sponsor questions?  (Read 540 times) Average Rating: 0
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Anna.T
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« on: June 02, 2014, 07:03:27 AM »

This is something I hear about, but don't know quite how it works yet.

One thing I wonder about - what are the obligations it would place the godparent/sponsor under? I don't want to ask someone if it will burden them in some way?

I'm a little worried - when I choose one person, will someone else feel slighted that I didn't choose them?

Those are the basic questions. The others are the recommendations I've gotten. One lady was saying I needed someone who was a good, faithful Orthodox and knew all about it. She was recommending someone, and I misunderstood, but the one I asked she said would be perfect. I don't know her well, but she's a chanter. She has shared soup with me. We don't talk much. She is very devout, from what I can see.

I have another friend who is a convert, who said no matter what, don't choose anyone who is (not sure if "clergy" is the word ... he was saying no deacons, no one who serves up there). He had a bad experience with his godparent and the priest trying to change his decisions for his family (and his decisions seem made for the right reasons, and are not bad), but felt ganged up on by the priest and the godparents and nearly left Church.

I also know several cradles who are either especially kind to me, very instructive in a formal sense, or very instructive in an informal sense. All seem reasonably devout.

I guess I'm not sure what the relationship is supposed to be like, so I'm not quite sure who I should ask?

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LBK
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2014, 07:24:24 AM »

Ideally, a Godparent should be someone who leads an active life in the Church, and is knowledgeable and experienced to act as your guide in the faith, along with the priest.

If you're not sure of who to choose, ask your priest to recommend someone suitable.
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Anna.T
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2014, 08:12:30 AM »

Ideally, a Godparent should be someone who leads an active life in the Church, and is knowledgeable and experienced to act as your guide in the faith, along with the priest.

If you're not sure of who to choose, ask your priest to recommend someone suitable.

Thank you, LBK. The women I am thinking of would all meet those qualifications, I think. They just each have a different "flavor" about it.

The one I am most disposed to ask is probably the one least likely to explain or guide me in things, so perhaps she would not be the best choice if that is to be her role.

Thank you for the reply. Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2014, 09:44:03 AM »


Ask the one whom you feel will have "time" for you, when you do have questions; who will not be embarrassed to correct you, when she sees you do something wrong; who likes you, and who is knowledgeable enough in the Faith (not just in church attendance) to actually help you out and guide you.

Her "pastoral" duties will peter down as you "need" her less, but, she will be praying for you every single day, as that will be her most important duty of all.

She will be held responsible before God, for how good a Christian you turn out to be.
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Sam G
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 11:28:35 AM »

Choose someone trustworthy you can talk to about anything related to the church and your spiritual life/struggles.  I'm not saying this person should take the place of your confessor, but having someone who's also your friend on a deeper level will make the process a whole lot easier.
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2014, 11:30:23 AM »

I would also just say.....hold off on thinking of people as 'potentials' until you are much closer to the end of the process.

Otherwise it tends to skew how you interact with them....its like a test rather than a relationship.

You will know the right person when you actually need to select one for real.
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2014, 11:43:10 AM »

This is something I hear about, but don't know quite how it works yet.

One thing I wonder about - what are the obligations it would place the godparent/sponsor under? I don't want to ask someone if it will burden them in some way?

I'm a little worried - when I choose one person, will someone else feel slighted that I didn't choose them?

Those are the basic questions. The others are the recommendations I've gotten. One lady was saying I needed someone who was a good, faithful Orthodox and knew all about it. She was recommending someone, and I misunderstood, but the one I asked she said would be perfect. I don't know her well, but she's a chanter. She has shared soup with me. We don't talk much. She is very devout, from what I can see.

I have another friend who is a convert, who said no matter what, don't choose anyone who is (not sure if "clergy" is the word ... he was saying no deacons, no one who serves up there). He had a bad experience with his godparent and the priest trying to change his decisions for his family (and his decisions seem made for the right reasons, and are not bad), but felt ganged up on by the priest and the godparents and nearly left Church.

I also know several cradles who are either especially kind to me, very instructive in a formal sense, or very instructive in an informal sense. All seem reasonably devout.

I guess I'm not sure what the relationship is supposed to be like, so I'm not quite sure who I should ask?

As far as obligations on their end, they're supposed to be someone interested in and hopefully active in your spiritual growth, and indeed your growth as a person. I think (am not sure) they're also supposed to arrange for a baptimsal cross and an icon of your patron saint.

As far as requirements, they'd need to be an Orthodox Christian in good standing with the church (as has been mentioned) and of the same gender as you.

Whether or not someone might feel slighted, I don't know, but what's important is that your godparent is willing to take an active role in your life, not just then, but in the future as well.

Perhaps these might be of help

http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Piety-About+Being+a+Godparent
http://www.blessedcelebration.com/All_About_Orthodox_Baptisms_s/14.htm (has some info that's helpful but it seems to want a whole lot of fanfare).

I would also just say.....hold off on thinking of people as 'potentials' until you are much closer to the end of the process.

Otherwise it tends to skew how you interact with them....its like a test rather than a relationship.

You will know the right person when you actually need to select one for real.

This - very much this. As usual, if you can't come to a decision, your priest should be able to make a recommendation.
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2014, 11:45:52 AM »


I would also just say.....hold off on thinking of people as 'potentials' until you are much closer to the end of the process.

Otherwise it tends to skew how you interact with them....its like a test rather than a relationship.

You will know the right person when you actually need to select one for real.

This - very much this. As usual, if you can't come to a decision, your priest should be able to make a recommendation.

I actually cleared my choice with my Priest BEFORE I asked them.  He then told me they were a fine choice and would be tickled pink to be asked.    Both things that were good to know for that conversation with them.
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2014, 04:38:25 PM »

Choose someone trustworthy you can talk to about anything related to the church and your spiritual life/struggles.  I'm not saying this person should take the place of your confessor, but having someone who's also your friend on a deeper level will make the process a whole lot easier.

This!

It really makes a difference to know that your godparent is praying for you. One of my godchildren has been going through a rough time lately (some potentially serious stuff). I told him that I pray for him every day, and tears ran down his cheeks. Btw, the last time I saw him he had gotten himself back on track.
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2014, 08:40:29 PM »

This is something I hear about, but don't know quite how it works yet.

One thing I wonder about - what are the obligations it would place the godparent/sponsor under? I don't want to ask someone if it will burden them in some way?

I'm a little worried - when I choose one person, will someone else feel slighted that I didn't choose them?

Those are the basic questions. The others are the recommendations I've gotten. One lady was saying I needed someone who was a good, faithful Orthodox and knew all about it. She was recommending someone, and I misunderstood, but the one I asked she said would be perfect. I don't know her well, but she's a chanter. She has shared soup with me. We don't talk much. She is very devout, from what I can see.

I have another friend who is a convert, who said no matter what, don't choose anyone who is (not sure if "clergy" is the word ... he was saying no deacons, no one who serves up there). He had a bad experience with his godparent and the priest trying to change his decisions for his family (and his decisions seem made for the right reasons, and are not bad), but felt ganged up on by the priest and the godparents and nearly left Church.

I also know several cradles who are either especially kind to me, very instructive in a formal sense, or very instructive in an informal sense. All seem reasonably devout.

I guess I'm not sure what the relationship is supposed to be like, so I'm not quite sure who I should ask?



 I didn't even really know that I needed a godparents/ sponsor when I was chrismated. My priest ended up picking somebody at random right on the spot and it has worked out great, I just came back from dinner with them tonight as a matter of fact.
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Anna.T
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2014, 02:15:58 AM »

Wow, a lot to think about, and a lot of helpful information, thank you all very much.

I will not press it too much in my mind, and give it some more time. It will be 2 months before we set a date, so that is probably soon enough to think of it.

And I will certainly ask Father before I discuss with them. I'm sure he will have much better insight than I do.

I do know one lady is very helpful, but she is also very BUSY and often doesn't have time for me, so I wondered if that was a possible consideration. I think she is asked often to be a sponsor/godparent though - her name is listed with recent Chrismations, and he has several children she takes up for the Eucharist.

And thank you for the information about the icon/baptismal cross. I had heard something like that, and wondered. I will ask Father. One lady I don't want to make a burden on her, but it seems to me that if she is the best choice, I wouldn't want this to be something that ruled her out. She's very kind, and always arranges for me to be included in things, and is ALWAYS in Church.

Others have very strong things in their favor as well.

I will give it time though. I think any of them would be good, and I will see how relationships develop and what Father says.

I think I was thrown for a bit of a loop to have two people bring it up with me within a day or so and give me strong but opposite advice. One of those things that put me on shaky ground last week.

I'm very thankful for everyone's wisdom and help here. Smiley  God bless you all!
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Anna.T
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2014, 11:03:28 AM »

I've been reading more on the links sent (thank you icecreamsandwich!) though there is a lot of info. Other helpful things there as well.

I did not realize the relationship was to be so involved? Or maybe that's more for the sake of children? It really sounds like a family adoption - a sibling of someone's godchild cannot even marry one's own children. It's interesting. But I suppose it falls in line with being responsible for the child if the parents die.

Of course I'm grown, but those rules seem to make it an important consideration. (Again obviously more so for children).
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 11:04:08 AM by Anna.T » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2014, 11:16:07 AM »

Being Hispanic, godparenthood is ingrained in the culture, because of Catholicism.  Traditionally, if the parents of the child died, the godparents would take responsibility of the child.  I grew up Pentecostal and I had godparents.  It's not so much an adoption as a grafting on to the family.
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Anna.T
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2014, 03:46:08 PM »

Being Hispanic, godparenthood is ingrained in the culture, because of Catholicism.  Traditionally, if the parents of the child died, the godparents would take responsibility of the child.  I grew up Pentecostal and I had godparents.  It's not so much an adoption as a grafting on to the family.

Thank you. I remember my husband was once made godfather of a Catholic family member, but no one said anything to him about making sure the child was raised Catholic, he was not Catholic, etc. To me, it seemed just a nice little ceremony the Church commonly did that seemed to have no particular meaning that I understood at that time.

I suppose my limited exposure has given me some wrong ideas, but I've just about finished reading the resources provided above, so I understand a little better now.

Thank you!
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Christ is in our midst!

My replies should not be taken as representing Orthodox teaching - I am only just learning myself.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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