Bishop Barres makes first visit to the North Fork

Bishop Barres

Bishop John Barres made his first appearance on the North Fork this week, stopping at local Catholic schools and churches to introduce himself as the new leader of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Bishop Barres, who succeeded retiring Bishop William Murphy Jan. 31, visited St. Isidore School in Riverhead Friday and talked to students on a variety of topics ranging from confession to the New England Patriots’ come-from-behind win in the Super Bowl.

“Is it fun being bishop?” a third-grader asked.

“It’s unbelievable fun,” Bishop Barres answered. “It’s fun hanging out in this classroom.”

School officials said his visit came on somewhat short notice.

“We just found out Wednesday afternoon that he was coming this morning,” principal Helen Anne Livingston said. “It was a quick, kind of ‘Oh, by the way, the Bishop is coming to see your school.’ We didn’t really prepare anything in advance.”

Ms. Livingston added: “We were certainly very happy and blessed to have him come visit us and the children were really excited to have him here. They were looking forward to it.”

• Related story: Pope picks John Barres to take over for retiring Bishop Murphy

Bishop Barres later visited Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Regional School in Cutchogue to lead Mass. He also plans to lead an 8 a.m. Mass Saturday at St. Isidore R.C. Church in Riverhead.

On Feb. 17, the bishop visited Our Lady of the Hamptons Regional Catholic School in Southampton, which, along with St. Isidore and Our Lady of Mercy, are the East End’s only remaining Catholic elementary schools.

“I’m moving around, celebrating Catholic education,” Bishop Barres said in a brief interview. “It’s wonderful to see the presence of Christ in these children and teachers.”

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Photo: Bishop Barres visited Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Regional School in Cutchogue on Friday to lead Mass. (Credit: Krysten Massa)