The last two weeks I shared some reflections on the sacrament of Baptism, and today I would like to continue with that. Parents begin thinking about a name for their baby long before the child is born. Frequently they will consider names that have a family or ethnic history. (I’m named after my father, and one brother is named after my grandfather.) Since a name provides an “identity” for a person, the selection of a name is very important. There is a long tradition among Christians to name children after the Saints or significant biblical persons. By doing so we provide for the newly baptized child a patron and model for living the Christian life. The selection of a name for a child reflects one’s values as well. Therefore, Christians ought to look to the Saints – and not the current television, movie, or music stars or Disney princesses – when considering names for their children. Expectant parents can find books with Saints’ names at any good Catholic bookstore (or they can google ‘saints’ names’ on the internet). In addition to the selection of a name, parents should carefully consider who will be the sponsors at their child’s baptism. Godparents are the spiritual counterparts to parents. Therefore, a child to be baptized should have one Godmother and one Godfather. Godparents have a mission to assist the parents in seeing that the baptized child is nurtured in the Faith and leads a life that is in harmony with one’s baptism. Godparents must be baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Faith. Of course, since they are serving as sponsors for one being baptized in the Catholic Faith, they must practice the Catholic Faith. Most parishes will request some evidence that a proposed sponsor is a Catholic in good standing (a letter from his or her pastor, for example) if the sponsor is not a member of the parish of baptism. It is permissible for a non-Catholic Christian to serve as a witness to baptism, as long as the other sponsor is Catholic. More on the Sacrament of Baptism next week.
May God bless you!