Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer, D.D., J.C.L.

“From His Fullness Grace Upon Grace” (John 1:16)

Bishop Gainer was appointed Bishop of Harrisburg by his Holiness Pope Francis on January 24, 2014. He was installed as Bishop of Harrisburg on March 19, 2014.

Bishop Ronald W. Gainer

Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer, D.D., J.C.L.
Eleventh Bishop of Harrisburg

Bishop Gainer was born August 24, 1947, in Pottsville, Pa. He was ordained a Priest for the diocese of Allentown on May 19, 1973. Bishop Gainer was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Lexington, Ky. on February 22, 2003.

Bishop Gainer completed his studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia in 1973, earning a Master of Divinity degree, summa cum laude. He also earned a licentiate degree in Canon Law and a diploma in Latin Letters from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1986.

For much of his priesthood, Bishop Gainer served in parish, campus ministry, marriage and family ministry, and tribunal positions. As Secretary of Catholic Life and Evangelization for the Diocese of Allentown, he supervised 14 diocesan offices and the promotion of the works of spiritual renewal and evangelization.

In addition to his responsibilities as the Bishop of Harrisburg, Bishop Gainer also serves as President of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania.

On the national level, Bishop Gainer is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He has served as Chair of Region III and V of the USCCB, as well as having served on the Administrative Committee, the Committee on Priorities and Planning, the Committee on Catholic Education, the Committee for Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. Bishop Gainer has also been a regional representative to the USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Explanation of the Coat of Arms and Episcopal Motto

The Bishop’s coat of arms is composed of a shield with its symbols, a motto, scroll, and the external ornaments. In the United States, Roman Catholic residential bishops traditionally join their arms, in a heraldic practice known as impalement, with the existing arms of their new diocese. Keeping with this custom, the arms of Bishop Gainer are now joined to those of Harrisburg.

The heraldic device of the See of Harrisburg is a compilation of the arms of William Penn’s family, the founders of Pennsylvania, and the family of John Harris of Yorkshire, England, who, in 1712, first settled the area on the Susquehanna River, called Harris Ferry, which later took the name Harrisburg.

The shield appears in silver and is divided by a Latin Cross in red. Upon this cross appears a silver shamrock in honor of the titular cathedral of Harrisburg: Saint Patrick of Ireland.

In a chief sable (a black field in the shape of a bar that appears at the top of the Harrisburg arms) are two plates, or silver balls, known as roundels, assumed from the Penn family arms. Between them appears a silver crescent from the Harris family, which in Catholic heraldry also represents the image of the Blessed Virgin under the title of the Immaculate Conception, a title for Our Lady entrusted to the Church in America.

The personal arms of Bishop Gainer, seen on the right side of the shield, reflect his life and his heritage. These arms are composed of a red field on which is displayed a silver (white) bar, which is encircled by a golden (yellow) ring. This is the dominant configuration, honoring Saint Catherine of Siena, of the arms of Bishop Gainer’s home, the Diocese of Allentown. Above the bar is a silver pine tree and below the bar are the three silver hills with the golden double-cross member, known as the “Cross of Lorraine.” These eastern European (Baden and Slovak) charges are used to honor Bishop’s heritage.

Bishop Gainer’s motto is, “From His Fullness Grace Upon Grace.” This phrase, taken from Saint John’s Gospel (John 1:16), expresses the profound belief for each Christian that all we ever need, the life of God within, comes to us from the unending source of all goodness, that is, the Lord, for “from His fullness, grace upon grace.”

The device is completed with the external ornaments, including the processional cross placed in back and extending above and below the shield, and a pontifical hat, called a “gallero,” with its six tassels in three rows on either side of the shield, all in green. These are the heraldic insignia of a prelate of the rank of bishop.

Personal

Pottsville, Pennsylvania: August 24, 1947
Parents: Francis F. Gainer, deceased; Anna M. Meko, deceased.

Education
  • Attended Mary, Queen of Peace Grade School, Pottsville, Pa. and Nativity BVM High School, graduated 1965
  • Attended Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, from September 1965 until June 1973, receiving a B.A. Degree in June 1969, and the Masters of Divinity Degree in June 1973
  • Attended the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, from 1984-1986, receiving the Licentiate Degree in Canon Law and a Diploma in Latin Letters in June 1986
Ordained Ministry
  • Ordained to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Allentown, Pa., May 19, 1973
  • Pastor, Holy Trinity Church, Whitehall, 1986-1999
  • Judicial Vicar, Diocese of Allentown, 1986-2003
  • Professor of Canon Law at Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, PA, 1990-1992
  • Named a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) by St. Pope John Paul II, August 20, 1991
  • Professor of Canon Law at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, 1993-1999
  • Secretary for Catholic Life and Evangelization, Diocese of Allentown, 1999-2003
  • Named Second Bishop of Lexington by St. Pope John Paul II, December 2, 2002. The announcement of the appointment was made at the Vatican on December 13, 2002
  • Ordained to the Episcopacy by Archbishop of Louisville, Thomas C. Kelly, and Solemnly installed as Bishop of Lexington. February 22, 2003
  • Named Eleventh Bishop of Harrisburg by Pope Francis, January 13, 2014. The announcement of the appointment was made at the Vatican on January 24, 2014
  • Installed as Eleventh Bishop of Harrisburg, March 19, 2014
Service
  • Assistant Pastor: Saint Bernard Church, Easton, Pa., 1973-1975; Saint Catherine of Siena Church, Mt. Penn, Pa., 1979-1980
  • Assignments in Campus Ministry (1973-1979): Lafayette College, Easton, Pa.; Kutztown University, Kutztown, Pa.; Albright College, Reading, Pa
  • Appointed Secretary to the Diocesan Tribunal: March 1980
  • Appointed Judge on the Diocesan Tribunal: March 1983
  • Appointed Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Allentown, Pa., and pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Whitehall, Pa., June 1986
  • Pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Whitehall, Pa. from June 1986 until January 19, 1999
  • Visiting Professor of Canon Law at Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, Pa., 1986-1987
  • Appointed Spiritual Director for diocesan chapter of Beginning Experience for the Separated, Divorced and Widowed: October 1991 to 1999
  • Appointed to the Pastoral Theology Faculty as visiting instructor in Canon Law at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, Pa., January, 1994 to June 1999
  • Appointed Secretary of Catholic Life and Evangelization for the Diocese of Allentown: January 19, 1999. – Member, Council of Priests, Diocese of Allentown
  • Member, College of Consultors, Diocese of Allentown
  • Member, Priest Personnel Board, Diocese of Allentown
  • Boy Scouts of America – 2008 Silver Beaver Award and St. George Medal recipient
Pennsylvania Catholic Conference

President, 2014-present

Professional Memberships

Canon Law Society of America

Positions at National Level
  • Participation – United States Conference of Catholic (USCCB)
  • Region V, Chair (2003-2013)
  • Region III, Chair (2014-2015)
Various Board Memberships Include
  • Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia
  • Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md.
  • Cross Catholic Outreach
  • Chair, Episcopal Advisory Board and member of the Board of Trustees of the Spitzer Center for Visionary Leadership
  • Holy Family Radio
  • Paradisus Dei
Past Committee Memberships
  • Region V representative to the Bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People
  • Moderator for Catholic Campus Ministry Association and liaison with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate
  • Committee for Canonical Affairs and Church Governance
  • Committee on Catholic Education
  • Administrative Committee
  • Committee on Priorities and Plans
  • Most Rev. Ronald W. Gainer, DD, JCL, Bishop of Harrisburg
  • Rev. Leo M. Goodman
  • Rev. James E. Lease
  • Rev. Timothy D. Marcoe
  • Very Rev. Edward J. Quinlan, VF
  • Very Rev. Thomas J. Rozman, VF
  • Rev. Kyle S. Sahd
  • Rev. Dwight D. Schlaline
  • Rev. Mark M. Speitel
  • Rev. Neil S. Sullivan
  • Most Rev. Ronald W. Gainer, DD, JCL, of Harrisburg
  • Very Rev. William C. Forrey, Ex Officio
  • Very Rev. Anthony Swamy Anthappa, VF
  • Rev. Joshua R. Brommer*
  • Rev. Philip G. Burger*
  • Rev. Kevin J. Coyle
  • Rev. Dominic DiBiccaro*
  • Rev. Anthony R. Dill*
  • Rev. Stephen Fernandes, OFM Cap.
  • Rev. Ryan M. Fischer
  • Rev. Leo M. Goodman
  • Rev. Francis J. Karwacki*
  • Rev. Stephen P. Kelley*
  • Rev. John M. Kuchinski*
  • Rev. James E. Lease
  • Rev. Robert Malagesi, MSSCC
  • Rev. Timothy D. Marcoe
  • Rev. Daniel C. Mitzel
  • Rev. Richard J. Mowery*
  • Rev. Daniel F. X. Powell*
  • Very Rev. Edward J. Quinlan, VF
  • Rev. Michael W. Rothan*
  • Very Rev. Thomas J. Rozman, VF
  • Rev. Kyle S. Sahd
  • Rev. Joseph T. Scanlin
  • Rev. Mark M. Speitel
  • Rev. Neil S. Sullivan
  • Rev. Mark E. Weiss
  • Rev. Mark T. Wilke
  • Very Rev. Allan F. Wolfe, VF

*Alternate

Contacts

Mrs. Hilary Smith

Executive Secretary: Office of the Bishop

Office: 717-657-4804 x354 Fax: 717-657-1370

Reverend Joshua R. Brommer

Director, Chairman of the Diocesan Commission on the Sacred Liturgy

Office: 717-657-4804 x354