The first ordination in the Diocese of Beaumont
By Mallory Matt
It was a year of firsts for the Diocese of Beaumont when the first ordination was held 49 years ago.
On May 25, 1967, a group of four men arrived at the cathedral to be the first four priests ordained specifically for the Diocese of Beaumont. Not only was it the first ordination for the Diocese it was also the first ordination by Bishop Vincent Harris. He was consecrated a bishop only months before on Sept. 28, 1966, the day before being installed at the newly designated St. Anthony Cathedral in Beaumont.
The class of four, Kenneth Greig, Charles James, Bennie Patillo and Irving Wyble, were to be ordained in alphabetical order, which meant Greig was first in line.
“It dawned on me that this was going to be the very first ordination Bishop Harris ever performed as the Bishop,” Msgr. Greig reminisced as he recalled the four of them nervously vesting and trying to calm each other’s nerves.
“So the night of the ceremony, I walked up to Bishop Harris and I said, ‘Bishop, I know this is your first ordination and I’m the first in line. If you want to practice on me, I’d be happy to get back at the end of the line and come up a second time so you get it right.’ He said, ‘Sir, I may have never done it before, but it will be done right the first time.’ So I said, ‘Okay.’
“That’s what I remember most about that night at my ordination.”