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Safety & Awareness - WYD Rio

 

When traveling to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013, all pilgrims should be incredibly conscious of security and safety issues.  With the recent news of protests and unrest in the cities of Brazil, there is even more reason for WYD participants to be vigilant.  The following information provides some resources for pilgrims and their families, group leaders, and parish and diocesan authorities regarding the safety of all World Youth Day pilgrims this summer.

 

A Letter From Bishop Edgar da Cunha

Dear World Youth Day pilgrims and families,

The bishops of the United States are looking forward to traveling with you to the international celebration of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro on July 23-28. Our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, is also anticipating this great event, saying, "Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you, starting today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI... Prepare well -- prepare spiritually above all -- in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world." (Vatican City, Palm Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013)

In this time of preparation, it is also important to prepare for safety.

The bishops encourage the young pilgrims to be conscious of their surroundings while in Brazil. We advise all travelers to stay with their groups and to be attentive to the directions of their group leaders, World Youth Day volunteers, and the civic authorities. However, we also want to assure you that the local and international coordinators of World Youth Day have gone to great lengths to address the issue of safety.

Additional security personnel are being trained and readied for the large crowds expected to descend on Rio this summer. Federal, state and local government in Brazil and the event organizers are doing everything possible to assure the safety of World Youth Day pilgrims so that the experience may truly be prayerful and joyful.

Although we know that security risks exists in any large city, we want all the pilgrims to be aware that the situation in Rio has changed considerably in the past few years. As the New York Times has reported: "Starting in 2008, in advance of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics -- Brazil is hosting both -- Rio's government began an effort to wrest control from local drug gangs and install community police units (called U.P.P.'s) in it favelas. The result has been a significant decrease in crime, and an increase in tourism, as mom-and-pop restaurants, pousadas and music venues with gritty charm and unparalleled views are attracting visitors, Brazilians and foreigners alike, to the hillside communities."

Thank you for making this pilgrimage with the Holy Father and with million of young Catholics from around the globe. My prayers, and the prayers of my brother bishops, go out to you as you practically and spiritually prepare for what promises to be an incredible experience of faith.

Faithfully in Christ,


Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, SDV, DD
Auxiliary Bishop of Newark, New Jersey

Bishop da Cunha is the World Youth Day Liaison for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Other Helpful Resources and Articles:

Brazilian Embassy - Passport Safety

Brazilian Protests Will Not Disrupt WYD

Vatican Guarantees No Safety Issues at WYD

Brazilian Bishops Support Peaceful Protests
The Local Catholic Bishops' Response to Recent Unrest

Important Safety & Security Guidelines Brochure
Download this special brochure for your WYD pilgrims

Security Details for World Youth Day Rio 2013
Rio WYD organizers outline plans for pilgrim safety

U.S. State Department Travel Details for Brazil
with links to travel requirements and other valuable info

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Info for Brazil
with details about medical information for Rio pilgrims



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