For the past month or so, I’ve had the pleasure of assisting at the 7:00 am weekday Mass at Madeira’s St. Gertrude parish, long administered and staffed by the Dominicans, whose priory is on campus. The Mass is always celebrated reverently and faithfully, and the preaching is top-notch — this is the Order of Preachers, after all! Fr. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., the pastor, is frequently the celebrant, and his homilies are personal favorites. Speaking from notes, he appears to put in as much prep time for a Monday as he does for a Sunday; his preaching is structured, doctrinal, and practical. So it comes as no surprise that he uses his bulletin to similar ends. For the past several years, he has penned “little catechisms” on several topics, e.g., on how to receive Holy Communion, and his latest, from yesterday’s bulletin, concerns “Godparents/Christian Witnesses for the Sacrament of Baptism.” Here’s a snippet:

Often we run into misunderstandings concerning who is permitted to act as a Godparent for the Sacrament of Baptism. So, I believe it is important to explain the Godparent’s role with proper catechesis.

The term “Godparent” only applies to baptized Catholics. Protestants cannot act as Godparents, but as a “Christian Witness” to the baptism. There must be at least one Catholic Godparent for a person to be baptized in the Catholic Faith. In the case of emergency baptism, this is waived. There may be one Godfather, one Godmother, or one of each [Canon Law 873]. In infant baptism, the Godparent(s) together with the parents assist the baptized to lead the Christian life, primarily by example, in raising a child in the Catholic faith [Canon Law 872].

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