The responsibility assumed by a Godparent is not one to be taken lightly, and parents are encouraged to choose carefully. The Church requires that Godparents be practicing Catholics who have completed their sixteenth (16th) year, have been Confirmed, have received the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and who are in good standing with the Church. If a sponsor is married, the marriage must be valid and recognized by the Church. Parents may not be Godparents for their own children. It is best that both parents and Godparents attend pre-baptismal classes either at St. Anthony of Padua or at their own parish.
Ideally, both Godfather and Godmother should be Catholics. On a practical level, sometimes there is only one Catholic who must fulfill all of the above requirements. If the other sponsor is not a Catholic, he/she should be a Christian in regular attendance at a church. This person will be listed as a Christian Witness. In cases where there is only one Godparent, it is better if that person is of the same sex as the child being baptized.
Canon Law for Choosing Godparents
Can. 872 Insofar as possible, one to be baptized is to be given a sponsor (Godparent) who is to assist an adult in Christian initiation, or, together with the parents, to present an infant at the baptism, and who will help the baptized to lead a Christian life in harmony with baptism and to fulfill the obligations connected with it.
Can. 873 Only one male or one female sponsor or one of each sex is to be employed.
Can. 874 To be admitted to the role of sponsor (Godparent), a person must:
1. be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents of the one who takes their place or in their absence, by the pastor or minister and is to have the qualifications and intention of performing this role;
2. have completed the sixteenth (16th) year, unless a different age has been established by the diocesan bishop or it seems to the pastor or minister that an exception is to be made for just cause;
3. be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken;
4. not to be bound by any penalty legitimately imposed or declared (i.e., married in the Church);
5. not to be the father or the mother of the one to be baptized;
6. a baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial (Christian) community may not be admitted except as a (Christian) witness to baptism and together with a Catholic sponsor.
NOTE: At least one (1) Godparent must be a practicing Catholic (at least 16 years of age) who has been baptized, confirmed and is able to receive Holy Communion. They should be living a life according to the teachings of Christ and the Church and, if they are married, they must be married through the Catholic Church.