“I have called you friends.” John 15:15
Lake Charles, LA June 26-July 1, 2021


Our second week of mission trips in Lake Charles, LA begun with high school teens from Our Lady of Mercy & St. George in Baton Rouge. This group took a 2 hour journey west.

“Most people think mission trips are boring and people only do them for service hours. Although, in reality, it is much fun, and it really helped me grow in my faith. It has really helped me grow in my faith and express myself freely.”

From our last Lake Charles email, we got a repsonse from a Lake Charles Resident & Lay member of the Domestic Church that I would like to share:

 “We meant it when we said that our gratitude is immeasurable. In the beginning, when everyone started coming back from being evacuated, it was….a lot to take in. We came together as communities and fought for the common good, to take care of one another. It was humbling and even joyous. But as time goes on, this area is growing tired. We are still there for one another but many are not even close to being back to normal. I’m very grateful that our family has been heading in a positive direction. But many are still fighting with insurance not paying. Many are still displaced from homes with their children. Many adults and children have been in despair for so long that a lot are showing signs of deep depression from living in campers and trailers that aren’t big enough and many finding that insurance won’t pay for that either or rent or that money is coming too late. Many are having to pay thousands out of pocket to even get started fixing their homes to get back to normal. And then there’s others that just can’t do anything and have to live in homes that are probably riddled with mold and then there’s all the health issues with that. I can’t imagine having to keep my kids in a dirty environment with no hope. I know y’all have heard all the stories. But I say that just to tell you that it’s not just the help we’re getting but that it goes so much deeper. I know God has not left us but that He makes beauty out of disaster and He will always provide.”

When the group arrived I was filled with joy at their energy to have a good time. One teenage boy shared with me, “To be honest, what motivated me to come, was my mom making me get my service hours in, but this is actually FUN!”


Fr. Joseph Carraway celebrated a special Mass for our group  at St. Henry. He extorted us to see beyond the physical destruction into the spiritual disconnect many people are experiencing. He reminded us we come to not just to help restore homes but tor restore people back into relationship with God.

MUCKING OUT: Demolding & removing drywall

We prayed with Debra and Danger after removing the long awaited molded drywall. We offered to pray with them afterwards and we moved by their tears. They even bought us ice cream in gratitude for all the hard work!

“It is possible to grow in my faith life while also having fun. I enjoyed tearing out sheet rock at Danger’s house and just really seeing the smile on everyone’s faces. This mission trip showed me the love of everyone else around me and how much they care.”

This was an incredible opportunity to respond to the question of the families, “Where is God?” and our actions said, “Here He is!”

On the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul our Scripture reflection for the day was: “Upon this Rock, I will built my Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”-Matthew 16:18 The Holy Spirit reminded us that we as a Church are called to break down walls that separate & isolate. As we worked, we prayed for folks experiencing loneliness asking the Holy Spirit to break down walls to bring them back into relationship with God and others. Hence, we were sent to a Protestant church. What a gift to have the opportunity to serve our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, to tear down “walls” in a world we were born into and that we could be vessels of unity.

“I experienced friendship in a way I didn’t expect and became inspired by the charity of others. I enjoyed working to serve those in need and growing in friendship with others. This mission trip has nurtured in me a desire to serve others.”

“I got so much out of this trip, it was easily the best week of my summer. I  loved all of it, but mostly I enjoyed the time we spent together in prayer. I wish I could stay longer. This mission trip has changed my life so much and made me a better person.”

“My faith, patience, confidence, and skyrocketed! I enjoyed making new friends and being with everybody.”

“I enjoyed the variety of ways in which we were able to serve, and the community that was built among us all. All of the work was fulfilling, and it opening my eyes anew to the beauty of serving others. While coming here to serve was the main point,  I think the relationships we developed will last a long time and I pray they will bear much fruit.”

We extend our thanks to Fr. Uche for allowing us to join the parish for Daily Mass, inviting the students to lector, provide praise and worship, and altar serve. The parish was so grateful for our presence and work in the community. They also provided breakfast for us after Mass one day.

“This mission trip deepened my relationship with Christ.”

We got to help Catholic Charities provide groceries for 200 families a day.

“This has been one of the best and most fruitful weeks of my life. I have been surrounded by so many people that live their lives the way I strive to live mine. Through their faith, humility, grace, love, kindness, work ethic, and friendship.”


“I have made many new friends and was able to serve many people.”

“This trip was so much fun. I thought it was perfect. I made new friends and also got closer to God.”

“I made a lot of new friends.”


“This mission trip really showed me it’s possible to grow in my faith life while also having fun. This showed me the love of everyone else around me and how much they care.”

“I met a lot of new people and it was overall very fun. I have grown in my faith and put myself out there.”

At the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. Rommel Tolentino prepared us for Adoration and shared with us about Eucharistic Miracles.

“Normally, I just sit there and twiddle my thumbs, but what the CMT staff said before Adoration really helped me actually enter into prayer.”

“Never in a million years did I expect to have as much fun, love, joy, and friendship as I did this week. I expected a holy and fun experience, sure. But this week gave me a family and changed my life. My life was missing something that I didn’t know I truly needed. I think I am found, if I’m not, now believe I can find myself. I enjoyed most the small group time and Adoration. The girls in my small group will probably become my lifelong friends. Adoration was miraculous! Everyone in tears from the joy and angels in that beautiful church.”

“I made friends and went to Confession. I also did work I was proud of.”


“I was able to serve the face of God. Meeting all the people from Lake Charles (especially Mrs. Rosie) has changed my heart for the poor.”

The day before we even helped Mrs. Rosie, she dedicated a book she wrote to us! 

“It has really opened my mind to the difference we can make in a community if we work together and trust the Lord.”

“I enjoyed making friends the most. I was scared at first, and then I branched out. I never thought I could have this great of a week. I grew in my faith and made close friends. I also was proud of myself for the work done this week.”

“I met new people and grew in my faith. It helped me realize the difference we can make.”

“You all came to this Church to get Jesus every morning, then you brought Him to my backyard.” -Mrs. Rosie, exhorting us.

“I enjoyed the community building through faith and work.”

St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church

Fr. Nathan Long celebrated a Mass for us on the 1st Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He reminded us that all our devotions as Catholics are about God’s devotion to us.

“I smiled so much and I really left Jesus’ presence here in my life. I enjoyed meeting and getting to know new friends and Adoration/Confession.”

“It has opened me up and allowed me to be myself.”

“More than what I can do in my entire life, God can do in an instant.”
-Briana, CMT Worship Leader

I want to give a special thank you to our Lake Charles CMT Staff Briana and Sarah, the Knights of Columbus, the famlies and Domestic Church Circles, who cooked and prepared dinner meals for us, South West Louisiana Response Liz, Greg, & Ron, and Catholic Charities -Cynthia,  for allowing us to join in serving their community, and Mitch aka our St. Joseph who lead our project of slaying away debris and making home repairs. I am so proud of all the hard work from St. George & Our Lady of Mercy. I give thanks for the faith of their fearless leaders: Tori, Catherine, Roz, Deacon Dave, Nick, their parish and parents for allowing them to come on a trip in such a time as this as they restored hope back into the lives of everyone they met in Lake Charles. If you read the quotes of the teens above, God certainly moved in an instant deeper degrees in their hearts. Let us entrust their youth group to Our Lady of Guadalupe, that they may continuously experience the grace of a life fully alive in Christ and the relationships He built for them this week!

Viva Cristo Rey, 
Director of Missions

Learn more about our CMT 2021 Summer Mission Leaders
Eucharistic Miracles
Donate here to CMT to support our mission

By |2021-07-22T20:33:32-04:00July 22nd, 2021|Categories: Latest News|0 Comments

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