Photos by Gregory A. Shemitz
While commencement ceremonies for 90 seniors at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School in Riverhead on June 6 were an occasion for celebration, they also formally marked the end of an era. Earlier in the day, McGann-Mercy dismissed its student body for the final time, less than three months after the Diocese of Rockville Centre announced that the East End school would close at the conclusion of the academic year because of declining enrollment and other factors.
A commencement Mass preceded the graduation, with Father Steve Maddaloni, school chaplain, serving as the main celebrant and homilist.
Bishop John Barres addressed the Class of 2018 during the graduation ceremony and later presented diplomas to its members.
The graduation, which drew a capacity crowd to the auditorium, was the final event at a school founded by the Sisters of Mercy under the title of Mercy High School in 1956.
Here is a gallery of images from the evening.
Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School.
Retired Auxiliary Bishop Emil Wcela, center, and fellow clergy process at the beginning of the commencement Mass.
Father Steve Maddaloni delivers his homily.
Robert Halversen carries the processional cross as he leads Kaitlyn Donnelly, Melina Santacroce and JohnHenry Domaleski in the presentation of the gifts.
Family and friends join the graduating class in the auditorium for the liturgy.
Father Mike Rieder, pastor at St. Joseph Church, Ronkonkoma, and former McGann-Mercy chaplain, prays over the gifts.
Abby Coniglio, left, Erin Cuddy andLibby Daddi-Robert recite the Lord's Prayer.
An image of Venerable Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy, overlooks the proceedings.
A graduate receives Communion from Father Edward Sheridan, pastor of St. Rosalie Church, Hampton Bays.
Father Maddaloni, assisted by Deacon Darrell Bueno, uses holy water while blessing the graduates' mortarboards.
Joseph Ryan smiles after receiving his academic cap from teacher Sarah Spector.
Olivia Kneski addresses the audience as Olivia Maxwell looks on.
Graduating seniors process from the auditorium after Mass.
The Class of 2018 poses with Deacon John J. Hogan, school principal, before the commencement ceremony.
Graduating seniors process into the auditorium for the ceremony.
Father Edward Sheridan, interim vicar for the Eastern Vicariate, gives the invocation.
The graduates sing the national anthem.
Dr. Kathleen Walsh, superintendent of diocesan schools, addresses the assembly.
Salutatorian Isabella Sorgi delivers her address.
Bishop John Barres speaks to the graduates.
Charles Bender, dean of students, presents the graduates.
Bishop Barres presents diplomas to the graduates.
Frank Barbosa Lima receives his diploma from Bishop Barres.
Rachel Shen receives her diploma from Bishop Barres.
Valedictorian Olivia Valle delivers her address.
Olivia Catanuto, Alison Coffey and Abby Coniglio shift their tassels from right to left, symbolizing their move from student to graduate.
Deacon Hogan presents the academic awards.
Olivia Geppel, left, Sarahmarie Dern and Carla Fortmann sing with the women's a cappella group.
Bishop Barres blesses the graduates.
Graduates are applauded by the faculty as they process from the auditorium.
A commencement tradition: the tossing of the caps.
Graduates pose for photos.
A graduate receives a hug from a well-wisher.