schnak asked this question on 6/1/2000:
We have been chosen as Godparents for my niece, what are our duties? And what would be an appropriate Christening gift?
mscperu gave this response on 6/1/2000:
To understand the duties of Godparents it helps to know the history of this institution.
When a pagan asked to be admitted to the Church he had to receive instructions, generally two times a week as catechumen. This regarding general instructions.
At the same time the Church assigned him a Godfather-mother. This Christian helped to convert the everyday life to Christianism. With the candidate he revised his life regarding his family, his work, his recreations supposing that the Godfather-mother was an example how a Christian should be: loving the enemy, sharing his possessions, preaching the Word. Yes they taught that right from the beginning. When the candidate had reached the stage of a real Christian life the Godfather guaranteed that he could be baptized
So you see your duty is first of all to be an example of what a Christian should be.
There shouldn't pass a day without you praying for your niece.
I presume she is a baby. As she grows up you should be her friend helping her to grow in faith and love.
Christening gift? There is a tradition somewhere that the Godparents present the candle of baptism. It should be one of those big ones with Christian symbols and the date engraved. This candle adorns every year the anniversary celebration of your niece; not her birthday but the day of her baptism.
If she is older a Bible would be appropriate.