January 24, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Thomas F. Shaughnessy
Director of Communications,
Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington
Office: (859)253-1993, ext. 258
Pope transfers Lexington bishop to Harrisburg, PA
Pope Francis has transferred Lexington Bishop Ronald W. Gainer to the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA. The announcement was released today by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, in Washington, DC, at 6 a.m. EST (12-noon Rome time).
Bishop Gainer will be installed as the Eleventh Bishop of Harrisburg on Tuesday, March 19, 2014, the Feast of St. Joseph, in the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Harrisburg. Upon today’s announcement of his transfer, Bishop Gainer will become the diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Lexington.
"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 said.
"In the coming weeks there will be opportunities for me to express my sincere gratitude to all of the faithful of the diocese and to say our good-byes. For now I humbly ask for a remembrance in your daily prayers and at Mass, as together we face the challenges of this transition. Pray especially for the faithful of the Harrisburg Diocese as I prepare to join them as their shepherd and know that I will continue to pray for the faithful of the Lexington Diocese. May God bless us all, as we move forward into this new chapter in the life of the Church," he said.
The Harrisburg Diocese has been without a bishop, since the unexpected death of Bishop Joseph P. McFadden May 2, 2013.
Bishop Gainer will be introduced to the people of the Diocese of Harrisburg as their new shepherd, during a 10 a.m. press conference at the Harrisburg Catholic Center in Harrisburg.
Within eight days of Bishop Gainer's taking possession of the Harrisburg See, the Diocese of Lexington's College of Consultors, a standing body of priests of the diocese, will convene to elect another administrator for the diocese. The diocesan administrator will oversee and maintain the regular operations of the diocese and its institutions, until Pope Francis appoints Bishop Gainer's successor. As a general rule, new appointments take a matter of months rather than weeks.
Bishop Gainer, the Second Bishop of Lexington, was ordained and installed as bishop on February 22, 2003. Before being named Bishop of Lexington, Bishop Gainer was a priest of the Diocese of Allentown, PA, where he served in numerous administrative and pastoral positions. He was ordained a priest on May 19, 1973. He holds a licentiate in Canon Law and a certificate in Latin Letters from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Established by Blessed Pope John Paul II on January 14, 1988, the Diocese of Lexington comprises 50 counties in Central and Eastern Kentucky, with a Catholic population of 45,591 members in 62 parishes and missions. The Diocese of Harrisburg was established by Pope Pius IX in 1868. It comprises 15 counties in Central Pennsylvania, with a Catholic population of 249,238 members in 97 parishes and missions.