Former Bishops

Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer, D.D., J.C.L.

Second Bishop of Lexington

+ Ordained May 19, 1973
+ Consecrated & installed as Bishop of Lexington on February 22, 2003
+ Installed as Bishop of Harrisburg, PA on March 19, 2014

Bishop Ronald William Gainer was consecrated and installed as the Second Bishop of Lexington, on February 22, 2003, in the Cathedral of Christ the King.

Bishop Gainer was born in Pottsville, PA, and educated in Catholic schools there.  He completed studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia in 1973, earning a Master of Divinity degree, summa cum laude.  He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Allentown on May 19, 1973, and earned a licentiate degree in Canon Law and a diploma in Latin Letter from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1986.

Bishop Gainer served in parish, campus ministry, marriages and family, and tribunal positions for much of his priesthood.  In 1991, Pope John Paul II named him a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor).  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.  He is a member of the Canon Law Society of America.

On the national level, Bishop Gainer is a member of the USCCB Committee on Catholic Education.  He represents Region V to the Bishop’s Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, and liaison with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.  He is on the Sacred Heart School of Theology Board of Directors and the Episcopal Board of Advisors for the Cause of Beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Bishop Gainer was installed as the 11th Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on March 19, 2014.

Bishop Gainer’s Coat of Arms

The bishop’s coat of arms is composed of a shield with its symbols, a motto scroll, and the external ornaments. By tradition, the arms of the bishop of a diocese are joined to the arms of his jurisdiction, seen in the left side of the shield. In this case, these are the arms of the Diocese of Lexington.

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 St. 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-crossmember 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, “Ex de plenitudine…gratiam pro gratia.” This phrase, taken from St. 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.

Most Rev. J. Kendrick Williams

First Bishop of Lexington

+ Ordained May 25, 1963
+ Installed as First Bishop of Lexington on March 2, 1988
+ Retired June 11, 2002

James Kendrick Williams was born on September 5, 1936, in Larue County, Kentucky. Following his graduation from My Old Kentucky Home High School in Bardstown, Kentucky he began studying for the priesthood at St. Mary College, St. Mary, Kentucky, and St. Mary School of Theology at South Union, Kentucky.

Father Williams was ordained at the Cathedral of the Assumption on May 25, 1963, by Bishop Charles G. Maloney, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville. Father Williams held various positions in the archdiocese including: Associate Director of the Archdiocesan Office of Religious Education, Vicar of Education for four rural parishes, President of the Town and Country Apostolic Council, Director of the Rural Office of Religious Education, Director of the Archdiocesan Planning Office, Director of the Clergy Personnel Commission, and associate pastor of several parishes.

In 1983, Father Williams was appointed Pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Louisville, a position he held until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Covington and Titular Bishop of Catula on April 15, 1984. He was ordained the first Auxiliary Bishop of Covington on June 19, 1984 by Bishop William A. Hughes at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington.

On March 2, 1988, Bishop Williams was installed as the first Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky.  He served the diocese for 14 years until his retirement on June 11, 2002.