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Pottsville native named Harrisburg Diocese bishop

Published On: Jan 24 2014 11:50:11 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 24 2014 01:46:21 PM EST
Ronald Gainer

Pope Francis has named a Pennsylvania native as the new bishop for the Catholic church's Harrisburg Diocese.

An announcement from the Vatican on Friday said current Lexington, Ky., Bishop Ronald Gainer will succeed the late Joseph McFadden, who died in May.

Gainer, 66, was born in Pottsville and ordained a priest for the Allentown Diocese in 1973. He became bishop of Lexington in 2003.


According to the Diocese of Allentown, during his 30 years as a priest of the diocese, he was an assistant pastor at the former St. Bernard’s Church in Easton and St. Catharine of Siena Church in Mount Penn.

He was also a campus minister at Lafayette College in Easton and at Kutztown University and Albright College in Reading.

He was the Judicial Vicar of the Diocese, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Whitehall Twp., Lehigh Co., and the first Secretary of Catholic Life and Evangelization in the Diocese.

“On behalf of the priests and people of the Diocese of Allentown, I welcome Bishop Gainer back to his home state," said Bishop John Barres, Diocese of Allentown.

"This native son of Pottsville is a fine bishop, canonist and a very pastoral man with deep experience in evangelization. I look forward to working with Bishop Gainer and extend to him the best wishes and prayerful support of the faithful of the Diocese of Allentown where his vocation was nurtured and first bore fruit,” Barres added.

He will be installed March 19 as bishop of the diocese, which is made up of 15 central Pennsylvania counties and according to officials has almost 250,000 registered Catholics.