First layperson to replace Bellizzi as Chaminade principal

First layperson to replace Bellizzi as Chaminade principal
Chaminade High School will be turfing the practice field near Saville Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Brother Joseph Bellizzi will be stepping down from his position as principal of Chaminade High School in Mineola on June 30 after 25 years. He has been named provincial of the Province of Meribah in the Diocese of Rockville Center.

Robert Paul will take over as Chaminade’s 12th principal on July 1. Paul will be the first layperson to serve as principal of the school.

“I know I join the entire Chaminade family in thanking Bro. Joseph for his 25 years of extraordinary leadership as principal and assuring him of our prayers as he takes up his new service,” said President Bro. Thomas Cleary.

A Chaminade alum himself, Bellizzi entered the Marianist Community at Chaminade in 1978 after graduation. He earned degrees from St. John’s University, a Catholic and Vincentian school in Queens, and New York University before joining the academic faculty at Chaminade in 1982.

Bellizzi served as assistant principal at Chaminade from 1987 to 1990. He then became assistant principal at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale before returning to Chaminade as director of its Marianist Community in 1996.

He became principal in 1999 and continued to teach freshman religion classes during his tenure.

As provincial, Bellizzi will act as a representative for the province in communication with the administration in Rome and work on a long-term care plan for the brothers at Chaminade and Kellenberg.

“I congratulate the Marianist Community for appointing Mr. Paul as Chaminade’s next principal,” said Bellizzi. “A competent and keen leader, Mr. Paul will certainly move our school in the right direction as we approach the centennial.”

Chaminade will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2030.

Paul, like Bellizzi, is a Chaminade alum, having graduated in 1992. He completed his undergraduate studies at Boston College, a private Jesuit university, and his graduate studies at LIU Post.

Paul joined the Chaminade staff as a member of the Science Department faculty in 2000.

He has served as assistant principal of academics since 2017 and is an assistant coach of the varsity basketball team.

“I am humbled and honored by the Marianist Community’s appointment,” said Paul. “We will work together so that Chaminade High School continues to be the gold standard of Catholic high school education.”

Paul’s appointment comes at a time when an increasing number of religious universities and high schools are being led by laypeople for the first time. There are not enough young men entering the priesthood in the United States to replace older priests who retire or die, narrowing the field for priests who are eligible to head universities and private schools.

The number of Catholic priests in the United States has dropped sharply in recent decades, from 59,192 in 1970 to 35,513 in 2020, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a Georgetown University research initiative.

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