By Ragan Savedra
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
(3 John 1:4)
I was 20-years old the first time I was asked to be a godmother. I was honored, thankful and also quite intimidated. I was excited to be a special part of that baby’s life although I really didn’t know what it meant to be a godparent. Without hesitation I accepted. I remember attending Baptism classes with his Mom and feeling the weight and joy that came along with this special invitation and privilege. Grant’s baptism was one of the sweetest days of my life. I felt a connection with him and a responsibility to him.
What I learned in that first Baptism class, and in others I’ve attended since, is that being a godparent is a “yes” to walking a faith quest alongside the child that has been entrusted to you. It’s an opportunity to nurture and support their life-long Catholic journey. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it like this, “Godparents “must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized – child or adult – on the road of Christian life. Their task is a truly ecclesial (church) function.” (CCC, 1255). Our role is to help their parents to raise them in the teachings and beliefs of the Church. That can include things like annually celebrating their Baptismal date and their patron Saint’s feast day. If you’re local to the child, attending Mass together is always a great way to encourage and support, not only the child, but the parents too.
My husband, Michael, and I do not have biological children, but combined, we have nine godchildren. We know through our own experience that God can use other avenues to bless the lives of couples facing infertility. Being godparents has not been a replacement for our own babies but we have recognized it as the Lord showing us that we are not forgotten and that we have not been overlooked. We have experienced the love of the Father through the invitations we have received to be godparents. My advice to parents who may be wondering who to choose as a godmother or godfather is simple… who will lead, love and support your child in their relationship with Jesus and the Church? Be willing to lay out the expectations and hopes you have for your child’s godparents as you invite them into this special role. One couple in particular really brought this home for my husband and me when they asked us to be their baby’s godparents. We were invited over to dinner and after we ate they asked if they could share a few thoughts with us. At that time we knew this particular family fairly well. We went to the same church and had some things in common. We had not known them for more than a couple of years and we had not spent an enormous amount of time together. What Michael and I did know though is they were a couple intentionally living their lives for Christ and took the education and formation of their kids very seriously. Once seated, they shared with us that they wanted us to be the godparents of their soon-to-arrive baby girl. What they said next is what has stuck with me on a regular basis since that evening. They asked if we were willing to be this baby’s spiritual support system, in partnership with them. Were we willing to be a part of her life no matter what our relationship with the two of them looked like? Would we be steadfast in praying for their little girl and would we be an active presence in her life? At that point I had been asked eight other times to be a godparent but never had it looked like this. I was blown away by their willingness to ask direct and tough questions. They presented their hearts’ desire to us and then invited us, based on that information, to make a decision. They understood that being godparents was not about gifts at holidays or being at every birthday party. Being a godparent was about being a source of prayer, love, and spiritual support for their child. It was an easy “yes” for us to give!
There is no such thing as a perfect godparent. My oldest godson will be 20 this year and we have not seen each other nor talked since he was a little kid. I share that because it is important that I am honest and transparent that this journey is not always easy. What I offer each of these precious souls on a daily basis is a covering of prayer. I also ask their Moms to please let me know when their child has specific prayer needs. I do not make most of the out of town birthday parties and I stopped sending Christmas gifts a couple of years ago. What I have learned on this road as a godparent is that the Lord is using it to form and mold me just as much as the kids he has entrusted to me. The best thing I can do is to be available and to pray for their souls, their struggles, their futures and their vocations. I am just as honored today to be asked to be someone’s godmother as I was twenty years ago. It’s my prayer that these little ones, who are not so little anymore, will come to know the Lord, the beauty of His Church and the love that He has for them. My hope is that the Lord will use me in their lives as much as He has used them in mine.
Ragan lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of ten years, Michael. They have two fur babies, Sofie and Sadie.