Have you been selected as a confirmation sponsor? What an honor!

Confirmation is a sacrament in which a young man or woman (typically ages 11-13, although confirmations can occur anywhere between ages 7-16) affirms their Christian beliefs and assumes an adult role in the church. They are fulfilling baptismal promises now that they are at the age of reason. This process requires an older adult to sponsor that confirmant. A sponsor is someone who can help prepare the confirmant and also vouch for their readiness and beliefs. A sponsor will present the confirmant to the priest for anointing during the sacrament. As you probably know, there are a few basic requirements for a confirmation sponsor - you must be of sufficient maturity (generally over 16 years of age); you must have received the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation); and you must attend mass and receive the Eucharist and Reconciliation regularly.

The Catholic Church allows confirmants to select a godparent as a sponsor; this makes a great deal of sense since confirmation has a strong connection to baptism. However, a sponsor can be anyone who meets the above requirements - an aunt, uncle, family friend, older cousin, etc.

If you have been selected as a Confirmation sponsor, here are a few tips that will help you succeed in this important role:

  1. Express your gratitude: It can make you feel nervous to ask for someone for sponsorship. No matter how close you are with the confirmant, it was still a leap of faith to ask you and hope that you’d accept. By showing your gratitude, you are affirming for him or her that you are excited. This helps a confirmant feel some confidence after likely feeling vulnerable.
  2. Build trust: Even though you presumably have built a relationship with the confirmant previous to sponsor selection, and that relationship probably has some built-in trust, he or she has still made an important request of you that should be handled carefully. If you are asked to a meeting or gathering during the preparation phase, be there. And be there on time! Participate enthusiastically. Follow through and take your responsibilities seriously; this will help the confirmant feel trust in you and the process. This goes for after the sacrament as well, since sponsorship is not over once the child or teen is anointed.
  3. Initiate: While there will be requirements as sponsor that the confirmant will communicate (certain meetings, etc. at school or church), a good sponsor will also arrange a few times to get together with the confirmant before and after the sacrament. It can be casual - a lunch date or a walk. A time to check-in. You don’t even have to talk about the sacrament! But showing an interest affirms your relationship and, similar to #2 above - it builds trust.
  4. Be a good role model: This almost goes without saying, but be especially aware of your words and actions. Developmentally and in the church, the confirmant is at an age where they feel more independence. Yet, they are still looking to important figures for cues on how to behave.
  5. Give a meaningful Confirmation gift: This goes along with tip #1. A confirmation gift helps express your gratitude for being selected as a sponsor, but it is also congratulatory. Additionally, the confirmation gift might be something that continues to push him or her in the right direction, in terms of their religion and faith. A confirmation gift does not need to be expensive, but sponsors must give it a bit more thought than the typical person.

Congratulations on your selection as a Confirmation sponsor. May God bless you and your confirmant!