Bishop Ronald Gainer, a former priest of the Diocese of Allentown, completed his retirement planning Tuesday when Pope Francis accepted his resignation as Bishop of Harrisburg.
Bishop Timothy Senior, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, was appointed by the Pope to succeed Bishop Gainer in the leadership of the Harrisburg diocese.
“Bishop Gainer has been a model of priestly and episcopal ministry in the Church,” said Bishop Alfred Schlert. “In all of his assignments, he has been a source of pride for the Diocese of Allentown as a native son. I wish him a full and vibrant retirement filled with many blessings.”
Bishop Gainer turned 75 in August 2022 and submitted his retirement letter to the Holy Father as required by Church law. The acceptance of his retirement, and the naming of his successor, was announced at noon in Rome – 6 a.m. here – as is the Vatican custom.
Bishop Gainer has led the Diocese of Harrisburg since 2014 and will remain its Bishop Emeritus.
Born in Pottsville, he was ordained a priest for the diocese of Allentown in 1973. He was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Lexington, Ky., in 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 in the Diocese of Allentown. 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 Regions 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.