Three days after being installed as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Bishop John Barres was the guest of honor at Friday night’s boys varsity basketball game between diocesan high schools St. John the Baptist, West Islip, and host Holy Trinity, Hicksville. Bishop Barres, escorted by diocesan vocations director Father Joe Fitzgerald, arrived one hour before tipoff and spent the evening greeting and meeting administrators, coaches, players, staff, parents and fans. Prior to the game, the former Princeton University junior varsity point guard visited the team locker rooms, where he addressed the players and offered a personal prayer for each of them. During pre-game ceremonies, Bishop Barres was presented with a commemorative game ball and fleece pullovers from both schools. He then led the crowd in prayer and, minutes later, tossed up a ball during a ceremonial tipoff.
Throughout the contest, Bishop Barres mingled with parents and fans in the bleachers, venturing to every section, ensuring that he spoke with as many people as he could in the crowded gym. The bishop had been invited to the game by Holy Trinity athletic director Chris Hardardt and school chaplain Father John McCarthy in early January. He promptly accepted, making it the first of what will likely be many visits to Catholic school sporting events in the diocese. On the court, Holy Trinity, sparked by Thornton Scott’s 22 points and an air-tight defense, defeated St. John the Baptist, 95-58, to improve its record to 14-5. SJB is 5-12.
Photos by Gregory A. Shemitz