“God has put me where He wanted me and He has blessed me tremendously throughout all of these experiences,” Msgr. Kenneth Greig once said of his priestly ministry in Southeast Texas. Msgr. Greig died August 8, 2021, at the age of 80.
Fifty-four years ago he was the very first priest ordained in the Diocese of Beaumont. In May 1967, Kenneth Greig and three other men were aligned alphabetically to answer the calling of their vocation — “Greig,” being the first in line.
“It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been ordained 49 years this month,” Msgr. Greig said in an interview for the 50th anniversary of the diocese in 2016. “It’s gone by quickly and it’s been filled with many cherishing memories that I thank God for every day.”
In this interview Msgr. Greig said that during the course of his career, he has come to think of each parish he has served in as a home and the parishioners his family. In July 2014, Msgr. Greig retired from St. Peter the Apostle in Groves where he was pastor for 21 years.
“That’s where my heart is — serving the people that have come to mean so much to me,” he said. “Over the years that I’ve been ordained, I’ve met some wonderful people in each of my parishes. Many of them have remained lifelong friends of mine over the years.”
One of the more significant changes Msgr. Greig said he has seen since the beginning of the Diocese of Beaumont has been the ACTS retreats.
“To me, the ACTS retreats have been one of the biggest and most positive changes in our parish life,” he said. “I’ve been involved with ACTS for the last 10 years through St. Peter parish in Groves. To see the impact that it has on the life of these men and women, I can identify with because each retreat has been kind of a renewal experience for me as a priest.”
Kenneth Greig was born Dec. 11, 1940, in Port Arthur, the youngest of the four children of John and Claudia Greig. He grew up in Port Arthur and attended elementary school at St. Mary. He graduated from Bishop Byrne High School (Section 1) in 1959. After graduating he entered St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston and began his studies for the priesthood.
Bishop Vincent M. Harris ordained him May 25, 1967. Throughout his years he served several parishes, St. James, Port Arthur, St. Mary, Orange, St. Mary, Port Arthur; St. Catherine of Siena, Port Arthur; St. Anthony Cathedral, Beaumont; Our Lady of the Assumption, Beaumont. Msgr. Greig was pastor of St. Peter the Apostle, Groves, for 21 years and also Immaculate Conception, Groves, for three years until his retirement July 1, 2014. After his retirement he remained active by “filling in” for his brother priests in different parishes throughout the diocese. He also remained active with the ACTS community.
In addition to his parish ministry, Msgr. Greig also served in a number of other positions with the diocese including Chancellor from May 1976 to June 1983. He ministered to people through the Tribunal and was on several councils, commissions and boards including the Presbyteral Council, Personnel Board, School Board and RCIA Commission.
Msgr. Greig was preceded in death by his parents, John and Claudia Greig, his brother, Ronald Greig, two nephews and one niece. He is survived by one brother, John E. Greig of Nederland; one sister, Sister Julie Marie Greig, a Dominican Sister of Houston; and several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.