Coronavirus – COVID-19 and Pilgrimage Travel

Coronavirus – COVID-19 and Pilgrimage Travel

A collection of useful information on Coronavirus COVID-19 especially as it relates to pilgrimage travel with the Crossroads Initiative.  What is the status of the upcoming pilgrimages sponsored by the Crossroads Initiative?  From Dr. Italy, a veteran international traveler and pilgrimage tour leader.  We encourage our pilgrims to consult this page regularly in the days to come.  We will update it as new information becomes available.

 

May 11 Update Oberammergau Pilgrimage

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to our survey.   We actually only got the final few responses in very late this past Friday afternoon.  Unfortunately, we don’t have enough passengers to make this year’s trip to Poland-Austria-Bavaria viable.  I’m so sorry for those who had their heart set on traveling this summer!

Select International has graciously extended the cancellation deadline to Memorial Day, Monday May 25.  You have until that day to contact Jane@Select-Intl.com either to register for future travel credit (FTC) or to cancel.

Here’s a reminder of your choices:

1. FUTURE TRAVEL CREDIT: you may choose to receive Future Travel Credit (FTC) of whatever you have paid towards this trip minus a $200 administration fee (which will go towards the non-refundable hotel and other land costs from this summer’s trip). We will soon organize an itinerary for summer 2022 that will include the rescheduled Oberammergau Passion play. We would do our best to keep the dates of the trip the same or similar (early to mid-August). As you might expect, the travel industry in Europe and the US is severely backlogged with cancellations and rebooking of countless trips. As soon as we are able to work out details, we will announce the itinerary and cost of the Summer 2022 Oberammergau Passion Play Pilgrimage on this website and by an email to you.

Should that trip not work for you, however, you can still apply your FTC to any trip with me through October 31, 2022 – we currently have trips planned to the Holy Land in April 2021 and 2022Italy in May 2021, Spain and Portugal in October 14-24, 2021 (details TBA in the coming weeks) as well as Oberammergau in summer 2022 (again, details TBA in coming weeks).  You do not need to decide now which future trip you will take.  All you are deciding in selecting FTC is that you will go on one of them.  When you decide, you would just contact Jane@Select-intl.com to inform her of your choice and to register.

If you purchased travel insurance, whatever policy you bought will roll forward and apply to whatever trip you choose to take. If you have not purchased insurance, you still may do so when you register for your future trip.

If you paid fully in advance for airline tickets for this summer’s trip (tickets other than the group itinerary and price), you and Select would have to work to recover this from your airline either by refund or credit from them.

You must claim your FTC no later than Memorial Day, May 25 by filling out this online waiver: (This form says that you have 21 days from the date of this email from me to claim your credit . . . but you must claim your credit by May 25.)

2. CANCELLATION: You can decline FTC and simply cancel your trip by May 25. The standard cancellation policy will apply – you would receive money back less the $750 non-refundable portion of your deposit (which covers non-refundable monies paid in advance to land operators, hotels, and Oberammergau Passion Play committee). If non-group airline tickets were purchased by you or for you in advance, you would have to work with the airlines for credit or a refund. Since quarantines and travel restrictions will likely ease by late spring/early summer, it is not clear at this point how airlines will deal with cancellations for August flights. If you purchased cancel for any reason insurance, you could make a claim to recover 90% of any non-refundable costs from your deposit and airline tickets. Whether you are simply canceling or plan to cancel and make an insurance claim, you must fill out this online form by May 25. Please read this word document from Select International for instructions on filing a travel insurance claim.

April 24 Update-Oberammergau Pilgrimage

As you know, the Oberammergau Passion Play will not be performed this year due to the disruption caused by COVID-19.  All performances have been rescheduled to 2022.  We and our travel company are happy to offer the following alternatives to those of you who had planned to come with us to the Oberammergau Passion Play this summer.

1. TRAVEL THIS SUMMER!: 2020 is still the 100th anniversary of the birth of St. John Paul II . . . that has not been changed! So the trip can still go on! I am excited to be able to invite you to travel with us on August 3 to Poland to follow in the footsteps of one of the most amazing Popes of all time! As we explore the courage of his firm resistance to oppression and his fascinating journey in discipleship, we will also get to know the incomparable Saints Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein who gave their lives at Auschwitz. In addition, we will honor St. Faustina Kowalska and unpack the mystery of Divine Mercy as we visit Cracow. Then on to Austria to experience the power of beauty to proclaim truth as we enjoy the music of Mozart, Hayden and Beethoven. As we proceed through the Austrian and Bavarian Alps, we will be inspired by Blessed Franz and Fani Jagenstatter, whose story was recently told in the spectacular film Hidden Life by Terence Malick.

We will still stay in Oberammergau for two nights since it is a charming village in the Bavarian Alps. On the day we would have spent seeing the passion play, we will instead tour sites we would not otherwise have had time to see. They include the Abbey of Ettal, one of the most beautiful monasteries of Europe, along with the storybook Neuschwanstein “Cinderella Castle” made famous by Walt Disney. The cost of the trip will be decreased by $300, the price of the Passion Play tickets. If you purchased travel insurance, the insurance will still be in force for this trip. To look at the revised itinerary and details, visit our Poland Pilgrimage webpage.

I believe this is the best option in terms of value, because not a dollar of your investment in this trip would be lost. Please watch this brief YOUTUBE video (5 minutes) from me telling you why I am excited for this trip.

2. FUTURE TRAVEL CREDIT: If you choose not to come on this summer’s trip to Poland, Austria and Bavaria, you will receive Future Travel Credit (FTC) of whatever you have paid towards this trip minus a $200 administration fee (which will go towards the non-refundable hotel and other land costs from this summer’s trip). We will soon organize an entirely different itinerary for summer 2022 that will include the rescheduled Oberammergau Passion play. We would do our best to keep the dates of the trip the same or similar (early to mid-August). As you might expect, the travel industry in Europe and the US is severely backlogged with cancellations and rebooking of countless trips. As soon as we are able to work out details, we will announce the itinerary and cost of the Summer 2022 Oberammergau Passion Play Pilgrimage.

Should that trip not work for you, however, you can still apply your FTC to any trip with me through October 31, 2022 – we currently have trips planned to the Holy Land in April 2021 and 2022Italy in May 2021, Spain and Portugal in October 14-24, 2021 (details TBA in the coming weeks) as well as Oberammergau in summer 2022. If you purchased travel insurance, whatever policy you bought will roll forward and apply to whatever trip you choose to take. If you have not purchased insurance, you still may do so when you register for your future trip. If you paid fully in advance for airline tickets for this summer’s trip (tickets other than the group itinerary and price), you and Select would have to work to recover this from your airline either by refund or credit from them.You must claim your FTC no later than May 2 by filling out this online waiver: (This form says that you have 21 days from the date of this email from me to claim your credit . . . but due since we are so close to the 90 day before departure date, you must claim your credit by May 2.)

3. CANCELLATION: You can also choose neither of the above, and cancel your trip by May 2. The standard cancellation policy will apply – you would receive money back less the $750 non-refundable portion of your deposit (which covers non-refundable monies paid in advance to land operators, hotels, and Oberammergau Passion Play committee). If non-group airline tickets were purchased by you or for you in advance, you would have to work with the airlines for credit or a refund. Since quarantines and travel restrictions will most likely ease by late spring/early summer, it is not clear at this point how airlines will deal with cancellations for August flights. If you purchased cancel for any reason insurance, you could make a claim to recover 90% of any non-refundable costs from your deposit and airline tickets. Whether you are simply canceling or plan to cancel and make an insurance claim, you must fill out this online form by May 2Please read this word document from Select International for instructions on filing a travel insurance claim.

Update April 6, 2020   Italy Pilgrimage

Our pilgrimage to Italy is in the process of being rescheduled to May/June 2021.  Exact dates and other details will be emailed to you tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7.  Thanks so much for your patience!

Update March 31, 2020 – Holy Land

The Holy Land Pilgrimage for 2020 has been rescheduled for April 12-22, 2021.  Select International is offering all pilgrims credit on what was paid for the 2020 towards the 2021 trip.  The final price of the 2021 trip is estimated to be close to the 2020 trip.  Select will confirm that just as soon as the airlines open booking for that timeframe, which will be on May 23, 2020.

If you wish to accept this credit and plan to travel with us in April 2021, you must notify Jane Allison, our tour manager, by email no later than this Friday, April 3!  You can reach her at Jane@Select-Intl.com.

We are praying for the health and well-being of you and your family during this challenging time.

Update March 31,2020 – Italy

This Friday, April 3, we plan to send you an email notifying you of our plans for the rescheduling of our May/June 2020 pilgrimage to Italy.  Thanks so much for your patience!  You are in our prayers and we pray that you will keep the staff at Crossroads and Select international in your prayers as well!

Update March 24, 2020-All Pilgrims

Hi folks – Select International Tours offices are located in the state of New Jersey which has issued a state-wide, mandatory lock-down.  All employees are working from home.   They cannot be reached, therefore, through their office phone system.  While they can still be reached by email, they are inundated right now so I would ask you to hold on patiently . . . I will alert you via this page and via email as soon as we have anything definite to share with you about the pilgrimage you are scheduled for this year.  Here’s a brief update on the various trips:

Holy Land – I’m delighted to report that Fr. Tim Nolt and Deacon Matt Coriale have confirmed that they will be traveling with us to the Holy Land on our rescheduled dates of April 12-22, 2021!  I hope all of those scheduled for 2020 can join us!

Italy – as of today, we do not have a plan finalized.  We hope to update you before the end of this week.  Thanks for your patience.

Oberammergau/Poland – We will not hear back from the Oberammergau Passion Play Organizing committee until early April.  We don’t know why they did not reschedule the play until 2022 instead of next year.  And we don’t know whether ticket holders like us will get any form of credit or tickets towards 2022.  The only other time in history that the play has not gone on according to schedule was at the outbreak of World War II, so I’m sure this pandemic is a brand new set of circumstances for the town, as it is for us.  We will explore all the alternatives.  We may still offer the trip with the entire planned itinerary despite the plays postponement, so I encourage you to keep the dates open until we learn more in early April.

Let’s all pray for one another and be patient with one another during this time!

Update March 19, 2020-FOR EVERYONE!

There are many news reports and Facebook posts that are extremely scary these days.  Here is a list of ten bits of GOOD NEWS with regard to progress that is being made in the war against COVID-19. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/10-positive-updates-on-the-covid-19-outbreaks-from-around-the-world/

Update March 19, 2020-OBERAMMERGAU

Today the news broke that, because of the pandemic, the town of Oberammergau has decided to postpone the performance of its play until 2022.  They have not informed the travel companies how they will handle this.  As you might imagine, our travel partner, Select International, is working overtime already to help deal with pilgrimages that have been canceled in March and April.  We would ask you not to call or email them, but to wait patiently until they are able to discuss the situation with the organizers of the play.  That probably is not going to happen until early April.

Select International has been in business 34 years – I’ve been leading pilgrimages for 21 years.  We’ve never been faced with a situation remotely like this.  Please keep us in your prayers as we seek to make the best out of a challenging situation.  And of course, first and foremost, we pray for the critically ill and the valiant nurses and doctors who are caring for them.

Update March 18, 2020- FOR ALL PILGRIMS

Hi everyone!  I just want to remind you that our Tour Company, Select International, has a COVID-19 Information page that you should check as well as this page.  If you do have travel insurance though the company recommended by Select International, Travel Insured, you should visit their COVID-19 Insurance Page.  This will help you you better understand the terms of what you purchased.

Update March 18, 2020- ITALY PILGRIMAGE

Both the final payment date and the cancellation date are extended to April 8.  This gives us all a bit of time to assess the situation and come up with a plan that is in the best interest of all.  If you have not yet paid in full, you can hold off . . . if you have paid in full, you can get a refund less your deposit and the cost of any flights that have already been purchased for you . . . up till April 8.

Update March 17, 2020  – UPCOMING HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE

The pilgrimage that had been scheduled for April 28 – May 8 2020 has been rescheduled for April 12-22, 2021.  All passengers have been sent an email with all the details.

Update March 15, 2020  CHINA GETTING BACK TO NORMAL

The fear, based by warnings that some statisticians and scientists, that vast numbers of Americans will be infected with COVID-19 and that the crisis will last a long while, is not in accord with the experience of China.  Cases are on the decline there and business and life are getting back to normal.  A WHO expert explains why here.

https://www.vox.com/2020/3/2/21161067/coronavirus-covid19-china?fbclid=IwAR2qeHLOpwdF5iakMBkct8Nt4jaWY3Py4asiIbT1_QV0KIsQgfmdDky-9Ls

Update March 13, 2020  FRESH AIR AND SUNSHINE

Viruses don’t particularly like heat and humidity.  While scientists are still trying to figure out if the heat and humidity of Spring and Summer will have the same effect on Covid-19 as it has on the cold and flu, one thing is clear – fresh air and sunlight have a proven anti-viral and anti-bacterial effect.  All of our pilgrimages will involve a great deal of time outdoors, in the fresh air and sunlight.   Read this article on how sunlight and fresh air was used in the 1918 flu pandemic:

https://medium.com/@ra.hobday/coronavirus-and-the-sun-a-lesson-from-the-1918-influenza-pandemic-509151dc8065

An Israeli biophysicist here explains why CoronaVirus he believes will slow down in transmission (as opposed to the exponential explosion of cases feared by many) https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3800632,00.html?fbclid=IwAR05d0K0xVg5wKjIKqOJViUQ43EnaUY94YDV2_2RKkXg9NqVbEC0srK1Pak

TRAVEL INSURANCE INFORMATION

We encourage all passengers to purchase travel insurance . . . many have already done so.  The Deluxe Group plan can still be purchased almost up until the time of scheduled departure.  Facts on the benefits of the two plans offered through our travel partner, Select International, are outlined here:

Travel Protection Plans

2 Comments
  • Denise Denning
    Posted at 12:41h, 18 March

    Is the cancellation date for the May 25th Italy pilgrimage also extended until April 8th?

  • Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
    Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
    Posted at 20:16h, 18 March

    Yes it is! I’ve noted that in today’s update on the COVID-19 info page. Stay tuned. I will update this page regularly, perhaps daily. We will email all passengers again with a comprehensive update as soon as we can.

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