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Our History

Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Mission was originally formed sometime during the 1930's when a group of traveling priests would visit by way of a jeep or helicopter and would hold services in private residences of Buxton, North Carolina, once a month. They would even use an ironing board as an altar, just to deliver their sermons. This method prevailed until 1956 when the naval base was built in Buxton and Mass began to be celebrated in the base recreational building or a tent on the base grounds. The number of participants increased from our nuclei of five faithful Catholics and was joined by Navy and Coast Guard personnel, as well as their families.

Following in the footsteps of Father Carney, Hatteras Island has been blessed with the leadership of many motivated and caring priests. Among them is Father Joseph Klaus, who also served as a Navy Chaplain to the base in Buxton. During the mid-1960's, Father Joseph Klaus was assigned to Holy Redeemer at Kill Devil Hills and would travel to Buxton for Sunday service. While there in 1971, Father Klaus was able to acquire approximately 11 acres of land on Highway 12 in Buxton, which would become the future home of our Catholic Church community.

Father Terrence Collins

In 1988, Father Terrence Collins became pastor of the Outer Banks Catholic Parish and finished the work on the Buxton site that was begun by Father Joseph Baumann in the early 1980's.

In 1990, the Our Lady of the Seas community was asked to leave the Coast Guard facility in Buxton. Arrangements were made with the Methodist Church in Buxton for Sunday afternoon service. A major effort was then placed on construction of a Parish Hall. Fund drives were held and with a concerted effort of local residents and the summer visitors, with the construction of the Parish Hall being completed in 1993.

Father Andre Izac

In 1993 Father Andre Izac retired from the Navy's Chaplain Corp. Father Andre's family had spent several years on property they own in Rodanthe. At Bishop Gossman's request, Father Andre agreed to minister to Our Lady of the Seas Mission, and was formally appointed "Priest-in-Charge." On Christmas Eve in 1993, the first service was held by the resident priest Father Andre Izac, celebrating Mass.

Oblates Order

The Oblates of St Francis de Sales

The Oblates of St Francis de Sales

The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales trace their roots to the dream of St. Francis. It was a dream born of the conviction - that all people, of every social stratum, of every position, of every job, talent, or condition, were called to holiness. He did it by preaching, teaching, and writing', which reflects the love of God, and the characteristics of gentleness and equanimity. He died before our Order was founded, so the Visitation Sisters kept the dream alive until their chaplain, Father Brisson founded our Order in 1873.

The Oblates came to the United States in 1893. Our first high school, founded in 1906, was Salesianum in Wilmington, Delaware. This was followed by North Catholic and Father Judge in Philadelphia; Bishop Ireton in Alexandria, Virginia; Paul VI in Faifax, Virginia; and Bishop Verot in Fort Myers, Florida. In 1962, the Oblates founded DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania. There are foreign mission in Brazil, Namibia, South Africa, India, and the Philippines. The Oblates now staff sixteen parishes in the Raleigh Diocese.

Oblate Profession Cross 1

Oblate Profession Cross

Oblate Profession Cross 2

A New Name

What started out as five individuals in 1948 had grown to over 132 registered resident families in 2003. We experienced a landmark day on July 1, 2002, when we were no longer called a Catholic Mission, but instead were officially designated a Catholic Parish. On that day, our new title officially became "Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church."

The spiritual growth of Our Lady of the Seas is more important than the structures built. The Catholic Faith of Hatteras Island has flourished under the guidance of many priests over the past 70 years. The island community continuously feels this spirit and the summer visitors often comment on the wonderful, welcoming spirit that they gracefully experience among our Church members. Since then, God has continued to bless Our Lady of the Seas.