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In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Europe, we understand that many participants are concerned about safety and security during their upcoming travel to Poland. When traveling to Krakow for World Youth Day 2016, all pilgrims should be incredibly conscious of security and safety issues. 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 while in Krakow.
The World Youth Day office at the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is aware of the recent summer European travel
advisory issued by the United States Department of State (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/europe-travel-alert.html)
and, in view of this, continues to encourage vigilance and responsibility on
the part of all pilgrims and group leaders going to Europe for the World Youth
Day (WYD) events in Krakow, Poland, this summer.
On May 31, 2016, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby noted, "(We are) not aware of any specific, credible terrorist threat around these events or in any particular place in Europe… We issue alerts all the time that aren't based on specific, credible attacks… We absolutely don't want to discourage travel or tourism to Europe. The Secretary (of State) has said himself, even in the wake of the Brussels attacks, that he would want and would hope that Americans continue to travel abroad to see the great sites of the world, to attend these kinds of events. We just want them to be aware and to be vigilant." He further noted that the summer alert was a renewal of a travel advisory that had been in place for the past several months.
With this in mind, the delegation from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has no plans, at this time, to cancel its participation in World Youth Day. The bishops of the United States remain committed to fully participating in this international pilgrimage experience along with the Holy Father. Individual groups on the local level may make their own travel decisions regarding WYD attendance.
To aid pastoral leaders and families in their preparation, the USCCB World Youth Day office (WYDUSA) regularly posts updated safety and security information on its website (www.wydusa.org and www.usccb.org/about/world-youth-day/safety.cfm). The WYDUSA office also maintains an open line of communication with the U.S. State Department Consulate in Kraków and with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the United States, and continues to monitor and assess the situation.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Poland have released a special website with safety information for U.S. travelers to World Youth Day: https://pl.usembassy.gov/world-youth-day-2016/. U.S. pilgrims, leaders, and families may also contact the Krakow Consulate directly with any concerns at WorldYouthDay2016@state.gov.
The US Consulate in Krakow has developed a website for World Youth Day Pilgrims. They will be posting the most up-to-date security information for World Youth Day. They have also set up a specific email address for people to use who have specific questions about security at World Youth Day: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in the security plan during WYD? A meeting of the government team for World Youth Day was held in Krakow took place on May 30, 2016. Issues related to security and logistics during the July meeting with Pope Francis were discussed, specifically the security forces that will be involved during World Youth Day.
For specific safety and security information, we recommend that you read the information provided on the State Department's Poland Country-Specific Information Sheet.
Enroll your group in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive updates on security while you travel.
Like the US Consulate in Krakow's Facebook page to stay up-to-date on updates in Krakow.
On April 14, the WYDUSA office hosted a Safety and Security Webinar. On this webinar, we had representatives from the USA Consulate in Krakow, the Youth Protection office in the USCCB, and WYD leaders sharing their experience of general leader awareness and emergency preparedness. If you have any questions about security at World Youth Day, we highly recommend watching this webinar and downloading the PDF used during the presentation.
Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, spoke about safety concerns for pilgrims traveling to WYD. At the November General Meeting, he said:
In the wake of the recent international terrorist attacks, I want to assure you, our pilgrimage leaders, and the families of our pilgrims that we have taken extra measures to assure the safety and security of all World Youth Day travelers. Our USCCB World Youth Day office is working with the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, and the Embassy of Poland in the United States to ensure the protection of those making this international pilgrimage. We will continue to be diligent and proactive in all these matters and we will provide multiple opportunities for leader training in the coming months.
In light of the recent terror attacks and threats, the WYDUSA office has released a Safety Notice for all pilgrims traveling to WYD. This document contains the most up to date information about safety in Krakow.
Check out WYD Krakow for continuous updates on safety in Krakow. The US State Department continuously updates travelers on advisories and provides resources for safety while traveling outside of the country. The US Consulate in Krakow and the US Embassy in Poland also have safety resources for those planning to travel to Poland.
you have any questions or concerns about safety, please feel free to
contact the WYDUSA office by phone, 202-541-3044, or email,
email@example.com. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook to receive the most recent updates about resources concerning pilgrim safety.
Via landline or a public phone:
997: Police Department
998: Fire Department
986: Municipal Wardens (Straż Miejska)
Via mobile phone:
112: All Services (You may also dial this on a landline, if you are unsure of the department you need)
+ 48 601 100 300: Mountain Rescue Service (GOPR)
+ 48 601 100 100: Water Rescue Service (WOPR)
While in Krakow, it is important that you carry a picture ID such as an original passport or a scanned color copy.
Pilgrims should also be sure to keep their Registration Certificate with them for the duration of their trip. This certificate with the ecclesial stamp and signature is important, because it verifies your status as a WYD pilgrim. There is also a possibility that pilgrims could run into difficulties with the Polish authorities for a number of reasons, which is another reason to carry the certificate to verify your identity.
Also, your WYD Registration Certificate and WYD badge (which you will receive upon check-in at WYD) are your ticket to enter WYD events. Please, do not lose or forget to have them with you at all times.
Your credentials, badges, or
certificates may not be transferred—and should not be shared or given away or
lost. Missing credentials create a security risk Lost credentials are not
easily replaced. In case of an
emergency, please proceed (with your group
leader) to a WYD Information Center located
throughout the city. Also in addition to this, remember that all
participants from the United States are reminded to act in a Christian
manner and adhere to the codes of conduct of their local dioceses.
At WYD Krakow, there will be thousands of group leaders, trained volunteers, and staff on hand to ensure safety and security. Also, the local Polish police will be present throughout the downtown area of Krakow.
WYD greeters and security personnel will be at the entrances to all events. Each pilgrim must have valid WYD credentials (i.e. pilgrim badges and registration certificate) for entry. Also, due to the high volume of pilgrims, please plan for additional wait times in your schedule for the lines to enter events.
Backpacks, Bags, and Purses
Traditionally, many pilgrims carry a backpack throughout WYD. As a result, pilgrims and group leaders are encouraged to travel light. If possible, try to carry only those items you will need for that day. Please do not leave your backpack unattended, for any reason.
If emergency evacuation is necessary, please follow the instructions of police, security personnel, WYD volunteers, and/or any of the public announcements.
In the unlikely event of widespread sustained crisis, each
group leader should have a designated a crisis check-in location. Report to
this location, if instructed to do so by security, law enforcement, or event
U.S. State Department - Travel Details for Poland
with links to travel requirements and other valuable info
Centers of Disease Control (CDC) Travel Info for Poland
with details about medical information for Krakow pilgrims
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