America Media mourns Father Bob Beloin

Father Bob Beloin with Elizabeth Dias, winner of the 2016 George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Journalism, Arts & Letters, and Father Matt Malone. 

New York, N.Y. - It is with great sadness that we report the death of our dear friend and a valued partner of America Media, the Rev. Robert Beloin, chaplain of Saint Thomas More: The Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University.

Over the last five years, ‘Father Bob’, as he was affectionately called by all who knew him, helped to spearhead The George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Journalism, Arts & Letters, a prize jointly awarded by St. Thomas More and America Media. The fourth Hunt Prize was awarded on Thursday evening at Saint Thomas More in New Haven, Ct.


The Hunt Prize, however, is just a small part of Father Bob’s expansive legacy. In 24 years of service to the Saint Thomas More community, he developed a program and staff that transformed the chaplaincy into a nationally renown program of worship, service and intellectual engagement. Father Bob was a true pastor and a visionary—bringing individuals together to love, to serve, to be lights of the Gospel.

Father Bob was a true pastor and a visionary—bringing individuals together to love, to serve, to be lights of the Gospel.

Father Bob’s warmth, compassion and commitment to social justice (he was recently arrested in New Haven accompanying undocumented people to court) were known to all he met. And his hospitality was unrivaled. As a friend recently reminded me, when you went to see Father Bob for a chat or a meal, “the plates were always hot, the wine was always decanted and there were always fresh flowers at his table.” He was to all his guests as Abraham was to the angels in disguise.

We will deeply miss him. We pray for his friends and the Yale community who mourn him. At a time when the church and the world are looking for models of good priests and decent men, no one needs to look further than Father Bob Beloin.

Requiescat in pace.

About Fr. Robert Beloin

Father Bob was a native of Connecticut. He completed his bachelor of arts and master of divinity at Our Lady of Angels Seminary in Albany, N.Y. He received his Ph.D. in religious studies, magna cum laude, from the University of Louvain in Belgium in 1983.

Father Bob’s warmth, compassion and commitment to social justice were known to all he met.

Following his ordination in 1973, Father Bob served first as assistant pastor for St. Ann Church in New Britain, Cy. He was the director of pastoral formation at the American College in Louvain from 1978 to 1983, and then spent 10 years as co-pastor for St. Barnabas Church in North Haven. In 1994, he became the seventh chaplain at Saint Thomas More.

During his tenure, Father Bob was active in both local and national organizations. In 1991 he became a member of the Advisory Board of the National Alliance of Parishes Restructuring into Communities, a Catholic organization supporting parish renewal.

Father Bob was also a retreat director for the Ministry to Priests Program for nine years and served on many committees for the Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven and on various archdiocesan committees, including the presbyteral council and the personnel board.

Father Bob particularly enjoyed classical music, Broadway plays, white water rafting, bungee jumping, zymurgy and tailgate parties for Yale football games.

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Francis Clinch
4 months 4 weeks ago

Fr. Beloin was among the staff of the American College in Louvain who invited an outside priest to organize “support groups” among the seminarians. When the priest attempted to assault me and then wrote, sending a sizable check, Fr. Beloin told me the problem was that I couldn’t accept unconditional love. I left soon after. I’ve always wondered what happened to him. May God have mercy on his soul.

Carlos de Vera
4 months 4 weeks ago

Fr. Matt, I met Fr Bob when he first joined as the new chaplain at Yale in 1994 and it was clear there was something very special about him to this Yale sophomore that opened so many perspectives to what the church, and one's place in it, were all about. His example led me to consider a possible vocation with the Society of Jesus in 1996 with Six Weeks a Jesuit in the summer before my senior year - where I met a very young Jim Martin and befriended Avery Dulles and Ray Schroth. While I ended up not pushing through with a priestly vocation (to Avery's disappointment I think!) that short but profound summer in Ciszek Hall and Fordham Prep (I wrote about it in an Oct? 1996 issue in America) and my encounters with great priests has stayed with me ever since, like a bottomless pit of spiritual learning that accompanies me today, 22 years later. I don't think it would have been possible for me to be who I am today without Fr Bob. He later officiated at my wedding at St Thomas More Chapel at Yale and baptized my son Augustine, so at St Thomas More. I really believe the Spirit helps the church survive and thrive through men like Fr Beloin. While he wasn't a Jesuit, he was the archetypal "man for others" .

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