Saturday, November 13, 2010

Advice needed

Last week, my little brother asked me to be his Confirmation sponser.  My first reaction was "YAY!!" because I was secretely hoping he'd ask me.  However, my husband pointed out that if I say yes, that means I'm responsible for making sure he's ready for the sacrament (I know, duh, right? lol).  If he's not, that means I have to let the priest know.  This is problematic because my family doesn't really practice their faith.  I mean, my brother (I'll call him Bubby. lol) goes to CCD, but they don't go to Mass or Confession, and they know almost nothing about Catholicism.  For example, I asked my dad one time if he knew why we genuflect when we enter a pew, and he said he had no idea.  So, in order for Bubby to be ready for the sacrament, he'd have to go to Confession and then attend Mass every Sunday.  There are two problems with this: 1) I live 3.5 hours away so I'd have a hard time enforcing my "rules", and 2) I hate being confrontational. lol  I COULD just be like, "Sorry, Bubs, I'm too far away!", but I'm the only one in our family (even our extended family) that knows anything about the faith, so I'm afraid that I'm the only one that could properly prepare him (I know that sounds really, really prideful, but I don't mean it to be at all).  What do y'all think I should do?  I've been thinking about it for about a week and I'm still unsure of what to do. :(


  1. I had a similar conflict recently when my brother and his wife asked me to be the godmother of their second child (I am also the godmother of their first). They do not practice the faith and have not raised their daughter in the way they promised at her Baptism. I wondered if it was right to be the child's godmother when I know full well that her parents have no intention of raising her in the faith.

    My pastor told me that my role of godmother (which he got straight from the liturgical rite) is to assist the parents in raising their child in the faith (encourage them, etc, which I do) but if they fail, that is between them and God.

    I tell you about this because there is a similarity between godparents and Confirmation sponsors (in fact in Canon Law, the portion on Conf. Sponsors, just points you to Godparents).

    In any case, here is my opinion for what it's worth: Accept his request. The fact is, you won't be able to control your family. What you can do is encourage them and stress how important it is for your brother and his formation for the sacrament to go to Mass every Sunday and to go to Confession at least once before being Confirmed. You can also play an important role in helping your brother encourage your parents to fulfill their obligations. If he can't drive, they are his only way to get to Mass; if he is seeking Confirmation, he should be encouraged to speak up and advocate for himself and his own formation.

    It sounds like you are the only faithful Catholic in his life; it is good that he wants you as his Sponsor! You can be a model of faith for him when no one else can! And don't put too much pressure on yourself to determine whether or not he is adequately formed. While you may have a role in this, the parish catechists and pastor play an important part (and I believe in the Rite, it is actually the pastor who officially "presents" the candidates for the sacrament to the Bishop). In sum, I think it'd be good for you to have this spiritual role in his life.

    Hope those thoughts help!

  2. Oh goodness! I totally get your fears about this! I'm not confrontational either and I dread when similar things come up in my life. But it seems to me like this would be a great opportunity for you to help him get on the right path. I know you can't enforce it, but I think it would be enough to explain it to him and then pray he follows through. I know it's hard though! I am sure you are already such a good example to him of a faithful Catholic. That's probably why he asked you!

  3. I agree with both CL and AYWH. You will be a wonderful sponsor. He is lucky to have you!

  4. Thank you all so much for your help! :) I've decided to sponser him! You all are so wonderful!

  5. Good decision...if you said no, who would he turn to?