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Catholic Dictionary




The person who presents a child at baptism and professes the faith in the child's name. A sponsor serves as the official representative of the community of faith and, with the parents, requests baptism for the child. The sponsor's function after baptism is to serve as proxy for the parents if they should be unable or fail to provide for the religious training of the child. Also called godparents, sponsors are required for baptism even of adults. One sponsor is sufficient, of the same sex as the one baptized; but two (no more) are permitted, i.e., one man and one woman. Sponsors contract a spiritual relationship with the person baptized, but not with one another. It has been customary also to have sponsors at confirmation, but the practice is not universal. (Etym. Latin spondere, to make a solemn pledge.)