“Ask a Priest: What Should I Do for a Goddaughter I Barely Know?”

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Q: When in my early 20s I agreed to be the godparent to my cousin’s baby, even though I didn’t have a close relationship with my cousin. Fast-forward about 15 years, and my cousin and her husband divorced. My cousin died, and my goddaughter now lives with her father. I have no contact with them, and, based on his character, I’m certain that she is not having a Christian upbringing. She and I have never had a relationship, as I was in college when she was born, and her family moved several hours away by the time I was out of school. I now have a better understanding of the role of a godparent and I pray for her daily. Do I have any other responsibilities toward her? – K.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is admirable that you have such a great concern for your goddaughter.

Perhaps you could try to take advantage of social media — even e-mails would help — to keep in touch with her on a regular basis.

Let her know that you love her and are praying for her. Then, look for opportunities to start a dialogue with her about spiritual themes.

She might be curious, for instance, whether she will see her mom again. That might be a chance to share with her something of our faith in the afterlife.

As Christmas or her birthday approaches, you might want to send her a book that could help her go deeper in the faith, such as the Youth Catechism (YouCat).

Your motherly concern for her might help her in crucial areas of her life. Having lost her mom, she might relish the chance to turn to a mature woman for advice.

Ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for her, too. And count on your grace of state as a godmother.

While you aren’t strictly required to intervene in her life – her dad is still living, after all — you are in a privileged position to help the young woman in the spiritual realm. Your own example of Christian living is a big part of this help.

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