Church members praying for a miracle to save their priest and the history of their church

A divine intervention is what the congregation of Our Lady Star Of The Sea in Port Isabel are praying for as the church stands to lose their current priest along with 150 years of tradition.

"The Oblate Fathers created this church and now they TMre leaving, says parishioner Irma Wolcott.

Oblate priests like Father Jim Erving are placed in catholic churches across the nation where the order believes a true missionary is needed.

For more than a century Port Isabel fell into that category, but they will no longer carry the oblate ministry leaving these churchgoers in limbo.

"Father Erving brought new life to the church, brought people back into the community when they had been away for so long, said Wolcott.

In the 6 months Father Jim has been with Our Lady Star of the Sea, donors from as far away as Monterrey have offered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to open a teen pregnancy crisis center in front of the Planned Parenthood in Harlingen, as well as, remodel the church offices to house a small center in Port Isabel.

Now the church fears without their leader, their pro-life mission will derail.

"We have a high number of teen pregnancies in Port Isabel and he was going to help the youth."

The plans were also in place to use that donated money to build a chapel on the island to address the needs there, but even devoted Wolcott has her doubts as to how to move forward if the person who helped the church rise from the ashes is being moved to another church several hours away.

Petitions have been signed, meetings held, now they are counting on prayer to persuade the powers that be to let their beloved priest stay where he is and keep the mission of the oblate fathers going for centuries to come.

"We need him here."

Another Oblate priest from the parish Father Harry Schuckenbrock is also being moved.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate United States Province wrote the congregation saying, I am so sorry to be hurting you because of this decision. The reason is simply that we do not have enough Oblates to fulfill our commitments. There are 320 in the United States, 205 are over the age of 70.