Mission Trip 2008

A photo from a past Biloxi youth mission trip (Photo by Katie Berger)

Welcome to the blog dedicated to covering the fifth trip of high school students spending a week in Gulfport, Mississippi during Spring Break, helping the Catholic community clean up and get back on their feet. The trip took place from March 30 to April 4.

Blog entries

Still more photos

I also go the laptop that the youth were using, which including all the images that we taken -- I found what I believe are extra photos from Day Two -- click below to go to our gallery of "bonus photos." Maybe you've seen some of them before, but there are lots of new ones (54 total!)

Unless I find anything else, this will probably be the last post.

Go to the photo gallery


Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 2:45 p.m. on Monday, April 7, 2008

More photos

Youth workingFather Meyer just stopped in my office and dropped off the camera that he and the youth used during their mission trip -- happily, there were about 30 pictures stored on it that they were not able to send back.

It's enough to make another photo gallery that shows more of the good work that the youth did over the course of the week. (I'm not sure exactly when these photos were taken; I've guessed that it was "Day Three".)

Go to the photo gallery


Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 11:01 a.m. on Monday, April 7, 2008

Day Three

An update from the group:

Today the St. Faustina work group helped out Philip and Loretta in Pass Christian.  Philip had built a two story apartment for his daughter and nephew.  During the storm a tree had fallen on it.  Sadly due to where the tree had fallen and hit on the apartment a squirrel got in somewhere and chewed the wires and about a week later the apartment caught on fire and demolished the apartments.  Because of Philip’s Parkinson’s disease he could not clean up the debris.  The students took the day to gut and clean up the mess that was left behind.

The St. Gabriel and Divine Mercy work groups finished helping Jane Koch with clearing out her garage.  Jane’s husband past away recently, and she needed help clearing out all the dry way that had mold growing on it.  They also cleared out many rusty tools and other equipment that had not been touched since the hurricane. 

All the groups started a kickball tournament today.  In the first game, top seeded St. Peter’s work group was upset by the Blessed Mary.  It was a very tension filled game that took four extra innings before the game winning single.  The rest the games for today were postponed due to the pouring rain that was ruining the field.

To end the night, the teens watched part of the video “Katrina: South Mississippi’s Story.”  It was made by a local TV station and included clips from the stations broadcasts before, during, and after Katrina struck Mississippi.  It was the first time for some of the teens to see footage of the destruction that people of Mississippi live through.  Some people were in there attics because the flood waters were rising so hard.  It is difficult to imagine the area that way as the work groups travel the road for two years later.  The video was a great help in remember what all these people have lived through.

It is a late night and everyone is tired.  A lot of the work groups completed their tasks today so there should be a lot of new adventures and opportunities to be Christ’s hands and feet to those in need.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 8:24 a.m. on Thursday, April 3, 2008

Day Two

Group at workMore photos, as well as two dispatchs from the group:

We arrived last night to a wonderful home away from home.  The Camp is run by a wonderful woman named Karen.  She runs Camp Hop and compassion as her ministry on top of her full time job.  The facilities are clean and well run.  There is a lot of food and good showers.  After unpacking all of the luggage from the 16 foot truck we got our selves settled.  The lights were out around 10:30pm.  We got a good night sleep.  We woke up this morning and after getting the young people standing and awake we had a hearty breakfast full of sugared cereals and pop tarts and hit the road.

Today three of the five vans are spending a good amount of time helping some local widows clearing debris from their properties.  They have moved onto their property and currently live in temporary housing-glorified mobile homes.  There hope is to begin construction soon.  We are prepping their property for construction.  It is amazing to see the level of destruction that still exists.  Some properties have been completely redone; while others have not been touched.  We hope that our labor will help to bring the much needed peace and happiness to the people of Gulfport.

The other two vans are at a site together moving drywall that has to be relocated and also moving a large amount of dirt.  They will be leveling the dirt and putting it around a new sewer tank that has been installed for a new construction home. 

We packed lunches after breakfast and have plenty of water to keep ourselves hydrated.  The weather is nice and we are shaded by some nice clouds.  There is a chance of rain today, but we are praying that we will stay dry. 

The internet is spotty at best.  Therefore, we will continue to update the blog when able. Please continue to check back to keep up on all the latest news.

Thank you for the continued prayers!

- and -

We have concluded our first day of work, and everything is going great.  Some teams cleared debris, some teams gutted a house, moved dirt, laid a foundation for a playground, and others helped to spread dirt.  After a long day of work, dirty clothes, and some sunburn everyone gathered back into the vans and headed back to camp.

After all of the groups returned from a hard days work the group decided the best way to unwind was to engage in a head to head kickball duel.  It was awesome!

After participating in the athletic endeavors all 61 members of the team showered up and got ready for dinner.

Tonight’s dinner was a true feast.  Some of the members of the parish treated us with a fish fry.  The consensus was unanimous…BEST FISH EVER!!!  Could it be due to the fact we are near water?

We ended the evening with Mass, Adoration, and Confession.  Not only are we cleaning the homes and properties of the residence of Gulfport, but we are cleaning our souls as well.

We are still having a little bit of trouble with internet connectivity, but will try our best to keep this blog updated. 

See pictures from day two that you can view in a gallery

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 9:37 a.m. on Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Day One

Group photoFather Jonathan Meyer, director of youth ministry in the archdiocese, sends along the following note:


This is the first entry of our Spring Break Blog.  This morning at 7 am, 61 youth and adults met in the chapel of Our Lady of Greenwood Catholic Church to celebrate Holy Mass. 

We were on the road by 8 with our destination of Gulfport, Mississippi very, very far away.  Unfortunately, we lost 3 teenagers in Kentucky but was able to pick up 5 hitchhikers in Alabama. (just kidding)  Actually we have had a wonderful trip, each of our five vans full of teens have been getting to know one another during the wonderful 10 hour drive.

We are now in Meridan, Mississippi for dinner at Cici’s Pizza.  161 miles left till we get reach Gulfport.  We hope to post again tonight arrive at Camp Hope and Compassion, our home for the next 4 days. (cue dramatic music)

He also has some pictures that you can view in a gallery

- or -

Check out a large version of the group photo above

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 9:05 a.m. on Monday, March 31, 2008



The Archdiocesan Hurricane Katrina Relief Committee decided to financially support a fifth trip of high school students to spend a week in Gulfport, Mississippi during Spring Break, helping the Catholic community clean up and get back on their feet.

The trip is being coordinated by Youth Ministry in the Office of Catholic Education and Faith Formation and is being covered live on this blog.

The mission trip will depart from Our Lady of the Greenwood after a 7:00 A.M. Mass in the chapel on Sunday, March 30th, 2008. The trip will return the evening of Friday, April 4, 2008 to Our Lady of the Greenwood. Our estimated time of arrival is 8:00pm.

Posted by Brandon A. Evans at 9:05 a.m. on Monday, March 31, 2008


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