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Catholic Activity: The Role of Godparents in Italy



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Anna Guerriero describes the honor and respect accorded to godparents in Italy.


No discussion of Italian religious practice and family life would be complete without an account of the unusually high rank accorded the godparents. The baptismal godparents are regarded higher than blood relatives and the names Compare and Comare are always used in respect. Another godparent is chosen for confirmation.

When a couple plans the details of their marriage, they choose their witnesses, best man and maid of honor, with the greatest care, for these two automatically become the godparents of their first born. They assume their spiritual parenthood obligations as binding.

First children are usually named for their grandparents. There is real significance in the practice of naming a child. We find the beautiful names of our Blessed Mother handed down through generations, i.e., Mary, Maria, Immaculata, Grazia, Concetta, Carmela, Rosario, Assunta.

Such popular names as Joseph, Anthony, Paul, Peter are repeated over and over. It is not uncommon to find Our Blessed Lady's name, Maria, attached to other names for all members of a family.

Activity Source: Your Home, A Church in Miniature by Compiled by The Family Life Bureau in the early 1950s, The Neumann Press, Long Prairie, Minnesota, 1994