The Sponsor assists in the preparation of the adult catechumen/candidate for the reception of the sacraments, and gives continued support afterwards. The person should be active in, and committed to the faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states that sponsors “must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized on the road of Christian life” (#1255). Church law says that this person be at least 16 years old (for maturity’s sake), fully initiated (having received Confirmation and Eucharist), be someone other then the legal parent, and one who leads a life in harmony with the Church (Pastoral Manual 79, 81).
Sponsors in the RCIA program
What does a sponsor do?
The sponsor journeys with the catechumen/candidate by participating through prayer and faith sharing. He/she also attends the Sunday dismissal Mass, and though not dismissed, provide support, and serve as a model at the Liturgy which is the source and summit of our Catholic worship.
The sponsor also shares with the catechumen/candidate the rich traditions of the Church which include:
– praying together as a community
– living out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy
– being the instrument for social justice
– the treasury of formal prayers: Lord’s prayer, Hail Mary, Gloria, rosary and many others
– the use of Symbols: incense, water, candles, statues, the crucifix, relics, etc.
– Seasonal: Advent-the Christmas Crib, Lent- ashes, palms; Easter- fire, water, the paschal candle
– the church’s understanding of pilgrimage to sacred shrines/places and more.
What are the gifts a sponsor has to give?
The sponsor gives the gift of her/his self presence at all aspect of the journey: the experience of faith, relationship with God, ability to listen with attention, respect and reverence to what is heard. Each encounter with the sponsor provides the catechumen/candidate with nourishment and strength along the way.
[The return to the sponsor cannot be measured in words.]