Oct 30 - Risk Alert - Threats to Religious Organizations*

Office of Risk Management and Parish Services

Risk Alert
No. 2010-10

RE: Threats to Religious Organizations       October 30, 2010

Yesterday authorities on three continents thwarted multiple terrorist attacks aimed at the United States from Yemen, seizing two explosive packages addressed to Chicago-area synagogues and packed aboard cargo jets. As a result of these threats, authorities alerted religious organizations, churches and synagogues in the Chicago area and requested increased vigilance in regards to suspicious packages and deliveries.

In light of the fact that there was more than one package identified and the FBI has not yet determined the breadth of this activity, this alert is being issued to advise our parishes to be vigilant and watchful for unexpected deliveries or suspicious packages in or around our parish facilities and churches. We would like to emphasize that there has been no indication of any threat to organizations in the Boston area; however, this alert is being issued as a precautionary measure. 

Please advise your staff to be mindful of unexpected deliveries or suspicious packages including those with such factors as:

  • Unexpected packages mailed or shipped from a foreign country
  • No return address or a return address that does not match the postmark
  • Excessive tape or wrapping
  • Restrictive labeling (personal/confidential)
  • Unusual odors or substances on the outside of the package such as powder or oily substances or stains 

In the event you have a concern regarding a package:

  • Do not attempt to open or handle the package in any way
  • Isolate the package
  • If the package is in a room, open a window in the room, leave the room and close the door
  • Immediately contact local authorities/dial 911 and advise them of the situation
  • Once authorities have been notified and the package has been isolated, notify the Pastoral Center priest on duty at 617-254-0100 and the Office of Risk Management at 617-746-5740 

This alert and any additional information will also be available on our website, www.rcabrisk.org