Monsignor Richard Bellow will retire from St. Mark Catholic Church at the end of June.
Bishop Peter Jugis, of the Charlotte Diocese, is expected to announce his replacement in the next week.
Bellow has been a priest for 43 years, including nine years at St. Mark, eight years at St. Gabriel in Charlotte and 10 years at St. John Neumann in east Charlotte. He will turn 70 in August.
During his nine-year tenure at St. Mark, the church built a 1,500-seat sanctuary, added a bilingual service and added a perpetual adoration program.
The church, located at 14740 Stumptown Road, serves about 15,000 registered parishioners and sees about 3,500 each weekend during the seven masses.
St. Mark Catholic School, which serves kindergarten through eighth grade, grew from 426 students when Bellow arrived in 2004 to 775 this past school year.
All of the church’s growth did not come without stress. In 2009, Bellow had a near-death experience after a triple-bypass surgery. When he returned to work three months later, he hired an operations director, who focused on the administrative needs of the large congregation.
After some travel and time with family, Bellow will become dean of students at St. Mark Catholic School this fall, which brings him full circle to his first job out of seminary as a guidance counselor and teacher at a Pittsburgh high school.
Bellow also hopes to eventually pursue a renewal study program.
"I cannot tell you how fast these 43 years have gone," Bellow said. "They just amaze me."