The journey begins...

Have you ever been intrigued by a travel brochure or the travel section of the Sunday newspaper? 

They lay before us all the marvels and wonders of distant and different lands. 

They may show us places and things that we've never seen; they hint at adventures that can't fully be described. 

Usually we spend a minute or an hour imagining what the journey might be like and then we turn the page or set the brochure down.

Those who come to us to find out about the Catholic church begin with a period of inquiry. 

The period of inquiry might be compared to reading a travel brochure. 

What kind of journey might this be? 

What might we encounter on the way? 

Where might we end up? 

These are important questions, but asking them is not the same thing as taking the journey.

The Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens celebrated at the end of the period of inquiry is something like sign-up day. 

At this liturgy, the inquirers who have asked the questions and now are ready to embark on the journey arrive at our door. 

We greet them and ask them what they want. 

They want what we told them that we could help them discover: faith, baptism, eternal life. 

We mark them with the cross, for this is the sign of all who are on this journey. 

We give them the holy scriptures: It is the guidebook that we use on the way.

 We promise to be with them on this trip, for we are still on it ourselves. 

And we give them wise guides sponsors, catechists, pastors and many others to surround them and support them as they learn the ways of the road.

Any good travel agent will tell you that she or he cannot guarantee how a journey will end, or what exactly will happen along the way. We can't say, either, what will happen along this way. 

But in faith we can say that if we and those we invite on this journey are faithful to the one who has called us to make it, then the end of the journey will be more marvelous than we imagined at the onset. Text by Victoria M. Tufano.