According to the Code of Canon Law, Canon 892, “As far as possible the person to be confirmed is to have a sponsor. The sponsor’s function is to take care that the person confirmed behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the duties inherent in this sacrament.”
The Diocese of Richmond requires all sponsors to be in compliance with the criteria set forth in Canon Law (specifically Canon 893) and listed below (note that the requirements listed in Canon 874 reference Baptism, but the same requirements exist for Confirmation sponsors). If the pastor of the parish does not know the candidate’s sponsor, it is advisable that the pastor seek a letter from the sponsor’s parish attesting that he or she meets the Church’s requirements:
874.1 To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:
1. Be appointed by the candidate for Baptism, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;
2. Be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception to be made;
3. Be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;
4. Not labor under a canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared (this means he/she cannot be an ex-Catholic);
5. Not be either the father or the mother of the person to be baptized.
874.2 A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community may be admitted only in company with a Catholic sponsor, and then simply as a witness to the Confirmation.
893.2 It is desirable that the sponsor chosen be the one who undertook this role at Baptism.
The sponsor does not need to be a member of OLMC. However, if your sponsor is not a member of OLMC, the pastor of their church must send a letter to OLMC (Attn: Ken White, 100 Harpersville Road, Newport News, VA 23601), attesting that he/she is an active Catholic, is in good standing with the Church, and meets the Church's requirements to be a sponsor. The letter is due no later than November 20, 2016.
In the case of a sponsor who is unable to attend the celebration of Confirmation, a proxy may be appointed to serve in the sponsor role. Those who serve as proxies must also fulfill the criteria set forth in Canon 893.