The government and church are disputing about the meeting point with Pope. A lot of problems appeared during preparations. Some of them are: a small number of volunteers, lack of accommodation for pilgrims and the number of police forces is not sufficient. Priests appealing to government about taking faithful to their homes. Organizers estimate that more than 2 million pilgrims will come to the WYD 2016.
The decision about the main mass location is still not taken. Church is pushing to organize it in Brzegi as has been planned. Meanwhile government officials would prefer another place. Security service also calls for change of place. Brzegi is considered as a difficult terrain to protect. It can be guarded but due to the size of the area it requires the involvement of more resources and hence the cost of such an operation also grows. The final decision is to be made on the May 15th.
The road A4 which will be used by pilgrims to get to the ceremony is too narrow. According to the calculations of officials, the path can take 8 hours.
Another important issue to be solved is medical help. Part of the ceremony takes place in Cracow but if then pilgrims would relocate to the Brzegi, medical stuff should follow and it is an additional challenge. The government is working on the preparation of an alternative plan. There are two versions. Both will be included in a special report which the Governor of Malopolska prepares. It should be ready in the beginning of May.
According to the first version, the main mass with the Pope is scheduled on Błonia. Some people would also be placed in a nearby Jordan park. The rest can watch the event on big screens around the Shrine of the Divine Mercy(sanktuarium Bożego Miłosierdzia). This scenario is taken into account if less than 2 million people will arrive to Cracow.
Another version is the use of airport in Balice. This option will be used only if the capital of Malopolska would host more than 2 million pilgrims. “No one told us about it. Celebrations at the airport means its closing for a month” – says Urszula Podraza, spokeswoman of Cracow Airport. – “This means that we cannot accept planes with pilgrims” – she adds.
Situation with volunteers is also a huge challenge. Currently 10,000 people more needed. The organizers lengthened the period for applications till the end of April. It is estimated that approximately 25,000 volunteers are needed for the event. Meanwhile, so far signed up 15 thousands but only half of these people are Polish.
Pilgrims have no place to stay. The organizing committee estimates that Krakow can host more than 2 million people. More than half a million faithful registered so far. Only 300,000 beds are available for now. Meanwhile the priests still convince the faithful to fill declarations and stay at their homes. What are the financial costs of WYD 2016? Meanwhile, according to the estimates and calculations of Krakow municipality, the preparation of the World Youth Days can cost Krakow 202 million PLN and if to count with investments it takes up to 600 million PLN. Part of the money will be spent on investment, which will serve the residents after the event.
Nearly 30 million zł will be spent on tasks identified as “other”. This should include the booking of Krakow Arena. It is unclear who will pay for free transport for pilgrims. In addition, officials estimated that strengthening of some bus and tram lines will cost 13.5 million zł. To this must be added to 150 hired buses as it costs a million zł. Another 3.2 million zł will be spent on the costs associated with the bus works.
Meanwhile Church do not talk about finances. Representatives of the organizing committee on questions related expenses correspond enigmatically. They reveal only that there is a document, which specifies who will pay. The church will have to take care, however, to conduct Masses, prepare vestments and thousands of millions of communicants. It will also be responsible for the preparation of altars.
“Packages Pilgrim” – the price is up to 760 PLN
For now, the faithful may pay for the so-called “Pilgrim packages”. It includes food, accommodation, insurance and transport. These are expected to cost from 190 to 760 zł depending on the type. Meanwhile, the organizers are happy to boast that in June on the occasion of the pilgrimage the motorcyclists will depart to Rome. They will pass the helmet and white jacket with the logo of the World Youth Days to Pope Francis.