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Bishop John Barres visits closing high school Friday

Bishop John Barres of the Rockville Centre Diocese made an unannounced visit to Bishop McGann-Mercy High School Friday morning, the school’s administration office confirmed.

He spoke to students and parents were reported headed over to the school, an alumna of the high school said Friday morning.

In a series of tweets students said that Bishop Barres did not visit all the classrooms. The school’s office confirmed this around 11 a.m after the bishop left.

Citing low enrollment and rising costs, the diocese announced Monday afternoon that the high school will close at the end of the school year. The news came as a surprise to students, parents and staff.

Elementary school Our Lady of Mercy in Cutchogue and St. Isidore in Riverhead will consolidate at the Riverhead primary school location, the diocese also announce.

Bishop Barres also made a pastoral visit to the students, administration and faculty of Our Lady of Mercy Friday morning, disocese director of communications Sean Dolan confirmed.

Msgr. Joseph Staudt of Sacred Heart parish in Cutchogue said Friday morning the school community is “sad together” and that he wants to support the students and parents if they need to talk.

“I’m just very sad, particularly for the children and the parents and teachers,” he said. “I’ve been going over there for 10 years.”

An online petition is currently circulating to “Save McGann-Mercy High School.” It had more than 3,700 signatures as of Friday morning.

A Save McGann-Mercy Facebook page also formed in the wake of Monday’s news, encouraging visitors to pose thoughts, suggestions and events to help keep the school open.

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