Our Bishop

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. After studies for the priesthood he was ordained a Priest for the diocese of Allentown on May 19, 1973. He was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Lexington, KY on February 22, 2003.

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

For much of his Priesthood Bishop Gainer served in parish, campus ministry, marriages and family, 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.

Bishop Gainer currently serves as President of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference.

On the national level, Bishop Gainer is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He has served as Chair of the 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, as well as a regional representative to the USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, and liaison with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. He is also on the Board of Directors of: Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Cross Catholic Outreach and Holy Family Radio.

Contact the Office of the Bishop

Mrs. Hilary Smith
Executive Secretary: Office of the Bishop

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

Explanation of the Coat of Arms and Episcopal Motto

Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer

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. This is not the custom elsewhere in the Church but has been so in America formost of its ecclesial history. Keeping with this custom, the arms of Bishop Gainer are now joined in impalement 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, later named for them as 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, that is to say a black field in the shape of a bar that appears at the top of the Harrisburg arms, are two plates, or silver balls also known in heraldry as roundels, assumed from the Penn family arms. Between them appears a silver crescent from the Harris family achievement but 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 naming her Protectress of our nation.

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 the bishop’s home: the Diocese of Allentown,Pennsylvania.Above the bar is a silver pine tree and below the bar are the three silver hills with the golden double-cross member that is known as the “Cross of Lorraine.” These eastern European (Baden and Slovak) charges are used to honor the heritage that has come to the bishop from his parents.

For his motto, Bishop Gainer has selected the phrase, “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 which are the processional cross, which is placed in back of the shield and which extends 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.


Pottsville, Pennsylvania: August 24, 1947

Parents: Francis F. Gainer, deceased; Anna M. Meko, living.

  • Attended Mary, Queen of Peace Grade School, Pottsville, PA and Nativity BVM High School, graduated 1965.
  • Graduated 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: 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.
  • Named a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) by Pope John Paul II: August 20, 1991.
  • Named Second Bishop of Lexington by 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.
  • 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)
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
Various Board Memberships Include
  • Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
  • Cross Catholic Outreach
  • Holy Family Radio
  • Reverend Joshua R. Brommer
  • Very Reverend William C. Forrey, V.F.
  • Reverend Leo M. Goodman
  • Reverend Monsignor William J. King
  • Reverend Monsignor Robert E. Lawrence
  • Reverend Daniel C. Mitzel
  • Reverend Charles L. Persing
  • Reverend Thomas J. Rozman
  • Very Reverend Michael W. Rothan, V.F.
  • Reverend Alfred P. Sceski
  • Very Reverend Neil S. Sullivan, V.F.
  • Reverend Joshua R. Brommer
  • Reverend Philip G. Burger*
  • Very Reverend Paul M. Clark, JCL*
  • Very Reverend Steven W. Fauser, V.F.*
  • Very Reverend William C. Forrey, V.F.
  • Reverend Robert M. Gillelan
  • Reverend Leo M. Goodman
  • Reverend Monsignor William J. King
  • Reverend Martin Kobos, OFM Conv.
  • Reverend Monsignor Robert E. Lawrence
  • Reverend Monsignor James M. Lyons, V.F.
  • Reverend Timothy D. Marcoe
  • Reverend John McCloskey, OFM Cap.
  • Reverend J. Michael McFadden
  • Reverend Daniel C. Mitzel
  • Reverend Brian T. Olkowski*
  • Reverend Charles L. Persing
  • Reverend Daniel K. Richards*
  • Reverend Monsignor William M. Richardson*
  • Very Reverend Luis R. Rodriguez, V. F.
  • Reverend Thomas J. Rozman
  • Reverend Alfred P. Sceski
  • Reverend Mark M. Speitel*
  • Very Reverend Neil S. Sullivan, V.F.
  • Reverend John A. Szada*
  • Reverend Francis J. Tamburro
  • Reverend Pang S. Tcheou
  • Reverend Allan F. Wolfe


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