Mount St. Joseph University

Mount students head to New Orleans to give the Christmas gift of hope

Mission Integration, Press Releases


File Under: mission and ministry, service

St. Bernard Project sign.

While many people dream of white Christmases and presents under the tree, other families in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina are still working to rebuild their homes.

A man named Raymond is one of those people. After evacuating eight years ago to Arlington, Tex. during the hurricane, he returned to New Orleans to rebuild his home.

Some students from the College of Mount St. Joseph left after finals week to help rebuild Raymond’s house. Working alongside a group from Transylvania University, they’re working with the St. Bernard Project which has already rehabbed or rebuilt more than 500 homes. The group is finishing the interior trim work and will install the flooring.

“Even though it’s Christmas and many students want to be with their families, we have ten students from the Mount who traveled to New Orleans to give one of the greatest gifts you can give someone—hope,” said Michael Casciato, coordinator of campus ministry at the Mount. “They’re making a difference for Raymond and giving him hope that he can rebuild his home and life in New Orleans.”

Mount students Tevin Byers, Lesley Bishop, Leanne Reichert, Jenna Rotundo, April Krekeler, Danielle Mayrand, Debbie Smith, Taylor Freeman, Megan Johnson, and Daphney Thomas are also on the trip with Casciato until they return to the Mount on December 21.

The Mount’s faculty and staff also take an annual mission trip to New Orleans, and other students will also return to the city to take part in various mission trips throughout the year.

“Serving others is a huge part of our mission statement at the Mount,” said Casciato. “The ministry of helping people is just what we do.”

The College of Mount St. Joseph is an undergraduate and graduate Catholic college that provides an interdisciplinary liberal arts and professional curriculum emphasizing values, service and social responsibility.