24-January-2014 -- Catholic News Agency |

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New Harrisburg, Pa. Bishop 'stunned' By Appointment

VATICAN CITY, January 24 (CNA/EWTN News) .- The Vatican announced that Bishop Ronald Gainer will be leaving his post in Lexington, Ky. to take the helm in the diocese of Harrisburg, Pa. - a transfer which is both a surprise and a joy.

"While I was completely surprised and, quite frankly, stunned by the news of my transfer, I willingly and happily accept our Supreme Pastor's decision as God's will for us and for me," Bishop Gainer stated in a Jan. 24 press release announcing the transfer.

Bishop Ronald William Gainer, 66, will succeed Bishop Joseph P. McFadden as the eleventh Bishop of the Harrisburg, Pa. diocese, who died last year on May 2, 2013.

"In the coming weeks there will be opportunities for me to express my sincere gratitude to all the faithful of the diocese and to say our good-byes," he said, but "for now I humbly ask for a remembrance in your daily prayers and at Mass, as together we face the challenges of this transition."

Asking for special prayers on behalf of all of the faithful in the Harrisburg diocese, the bishop assured them that I will continue to pray for the faithful of the Lexington Diocese."

Bishop Gainer was born on Aug. 24, 1947 in Pottsville, Pa., and was ordained to the priesthood on May 19, 1973 for the diocese of Allentown. He was consecrated and installed as the Bishop of Lexington, Ky. on Feb. 22, 2003.

The bishop completed his studies at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1973, having earned a Master of Divinity degree summa cum laude, as well as a licentiate in Canon Law and a diploma in Latin Letter from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1986.

For the majority of his priesthood, Bishop Gainer has served in parish, campus ministry, marriages and family, and tribunal positions, and was Secretary of Catholic Life and Evangelization for the Diocese of Allentown.

On a national level, the bishop is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Administrative Committee, as well as a member of the Committee on Priorities and Planning.

He has served as Chair of the Region V of the USCCB, and has also worked on 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.

The bishop was also a liaison with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, and is a part of the Sacred Heart School of Theology Board of Directors.

The Diocese of Harrisburg is complies of 15 counties in Central Pa., including: Adams, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Union and York, and has an estimated 249,238 registered Catholics.

The Mass for Bishop Gainer's installation will take place in the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Harrisburg on Tuesday, March 19, the Feast of Saint Joseph.

As of the public announcement of the transfer earlier this morning, Bishop Gainer has officially become the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Lexington.

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