A LETTER TO OUR PILGRIMS
From John Paul Lichon
Dear fellow pilgrims,
These last few weeks have brought about unprecedented times. I never would have imagined a world where all travel has been brought to a screeching halt, but this is the reality we face today. It has been, and continues to be a difficult time, without question.
But in the midst of all this, I have continued to be blessed by the many stories of heroism, of faith, and of heart that people all around have displayed. And I’ve been so grateful to keep in touch with people and experience a universal kinship and commonality, even if that’s brought about by such unfortunate circumstances. I hope you have, too.
Today, and every day, our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have contracted COVID-19, their families, friends, and all those impacted by the illness. We especially remember those who have lost their lives to this terrible disease, as well as all of the front-line healthcare, safety, and other professionals who continue to serve throughout this pandemic.
As you can imagine, this has significantly impacted operations here at Verso Ministries. We have rescheduled or canceled all of our departures from mid-March through the end of September. Though we are monitoring the global situation as it relates to our specific destinations, we are unsure of when we will be able to travel to these holy sites safely and freely again.
But despite uncertainty everywhere, here’s what I know: we trust in a God who is present and with us in good times and in bad. A God whose power is greater than any evil, whether it’s the world outside, or the struggles we face while in isolation. And a God who is with us now, and who will go with us once again on sacred journeys, to visit the places He’s touched throughout time and place.
In the meantime, here is what we are doing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:
We are proactively working with those who have scheduled departures.
If you had a pilgrimage scheduled between March through September 2020, you have already heard from us regarding your pilgrimage’s status. Several of these departures are in the process of being rescheduled, so thank you for your continued patience as we sort out all of the details. This process takes time as many service providers are working with reduced hours and staffing. Once new dates are confirmed with all travel providers, we will provide details about your options for either rescheduling or a refund. If you have a question about the rescheduling or refund process, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.
We are committed to protecting your travel investment.
If you’re currently booked for an upcoming departure, you’re welcome to switch to another departure — no questions asked. All payments that went towards the original pilgrimage will be applied to the balance of the new pilgrimage. In fact, we believe in this policy so much that we have incorporated a “no change fee” policy into our terms and conditions. All current and future pilgrims who wish to change from one pilgrimage to another will not incur a change fee, as long as they change at least 120 days prior to departure. Ready to book? Discover all of our upcoming departures in 2021 and 2022.
We are putting additional safety protocols in place for future pilgrimages.
Your safety and security has always been our top priority. Our commitment has always been to take precautions wherever we’re traveling, and to work closely with our travel partners to ensure smooth, safe travel for all our pilgrims. It’s also the reason we highly recommend and offer travel insurance. With COVID-19, additional vigilance will likely be required for future travel. We will evaluate specific protocols for each pilgrimage individually, which could result in anything from providing hand sanitizer to all travelers to altering certain activities or planned sites we visit. Regardless of where we go, we will be checking and following the safety guidelines issued at home and in any city and country we visit abroad. If you have any questions or concerns, as always, please reach out.
We are remaining open and actively planning for the future.
If you are an individual or group leader and are thinking about booking a pilgrimage with us, now is a great time to start your planning. Our offices are open and ready to help you plan for your future travels.
These words have graced my desk for the past 13 years, and they are fitting now, just as any other day: “Be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us!
John Paul Lichon