One of the first priests ordained for the Diocese of Beaumont when it was formed passed away Wednesday morning.

Msgr. Bennie J. Patillo, who served as Pastor at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Port Neches from 1995 until 2014, passed away Wednesday morning following a prolonged illness, according to Monsignor Jerry McGrath.

The webpage of St. Elizabeth says in 2008, Msgr. Patillo oversaw the recovery of the parish after Hurricane Ike, which significantly damaged the parish offices and religious education building. The first Sunday returning from evacuation, still without electricity, Mass was celebrated in the parking lot for parishioners who had begun returning for the recovery efforts in the area.

The website says he was elevated to Monsignor after his 42 years of service in the Diocese of Beaumont and was named Pastor Emeritus following his retirement.