Ronald William Gainer

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Styles of
Ronald Gainer
Coat of arms of Ronald W. Gainer.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop
Posthumous style not applicable

Ronald William Gainer (born August 24, 1947) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the eleventh and current Bishop of Harrisburg, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He previously served as the second Bishop of Lexington before being named to Harrisburg.


Ronald Gainer was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, as an only child[1] to parents of Eastern European descent.[2] He attended St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969 and a Master's degree in Divinity in 1973.[3] He was ordained to the priesthood on May 19, 1973.[4]

Gainer served as pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Whitehall.[5] Within the Diocese of Allentown, he served as Secretary of the Diocesan Tribunal, Secretary for Catholic Life and Evangelization, and Judicial Vicar.[5] He did his graduate studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, earning a Licentiate in canon law in 1986.[3] He was raised to the rank of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness on August 20, 1991.[5]

On December 13, 2002, Gainer was appointed the second Bishop of Lexington, Kentucky, by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following February 22 from Archbishop Thomas Cajetan Kelly, OP, with Bishops Edward Peter Cullen and Joseph Edward Kurtz serving as co-consecrators.[4]

In 2004, Gainer urged pro-choice Catholic politicians to refrain from receiving Communion.[6]

On January 24, 2014, Gainer was appointed the eleventh Bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, by Pope Francis.[7] He was installed on the following March 19 in the Cathedral of St. Patrick, Harrisburg.

Ban on female students in sports with physical contact[edit]

On July 1, 2014, Gainer introduced a new policy prohibiting girls at Catholic schools in the Diocese of Harrisburg from participating in wrestling, tackle football, and tackle rugby whether or not they desire to compete in girls-only or co-ed matches.[8] The policy goes on to require male wrestlers to forfeit matches against female opponents, but does not bar tackle football or rugby teams from playing against teams which may have a girl on their team.[8] According to the policy, the ban applies to sports "...that involve substantial and potentially immodest physical contact".[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Greetings from Bishop Ronald W. Gainer". 
  2. ^ "Bishop Gainer's Coat of Arms". Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington. 
  3. ^ a b "Profile: Ronald William Gainer". Who's Who in America. 
  4. ^ a b "Bishop Ronald William Gainer". 
  5. ^ a b c "Pope Appoints Msgr. Ronald Gainer Bishop of Lexington; Msgr. Ignatius Wang Named Auxiliary of San Francisco". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2002-12-12. 
  6. ^ "Bishop pushes officials to follow on abortion". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 2004-06-25. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b c Gainer, Ronald (Oct 1, 2014). "Co-Ed Participation in Contact Sports". Catholic Schools / Co-Ed Participation in Contact Sports. Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Retrieved Oct 4, 2014. Catholic schools, parishes, CYOs or clubs would not permit a female on a wrestling team...Catholic schools, parishes, CYOs and clubs would not permit a female on a tackle football team...Catholic schools, parishes, CYOs and clubs would not permit a female on a tackle rugby team. 

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph P. McFadden
Bishop of Harrisburg
Succeeded by
Preceded by
James Kendrick Williams
Bishop of Lexington
Succeeded by
Sede vacante