Bishop to visit Elysburg Saturday
ELYSBURG - Recently installed Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg will celebrate Mass and attend a Battle Ready Rally featuring Doug Barry, co-host of the Eternal World Television Network's (EWTN) "Life on the Rock," Saturday at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church.
Gainer, who was installed March 19 as the 11th bishop of the diocese, will celebrate Mass at 5 p.m. The rally for adults and teens will be held in the church at 7 p.m.
The bishop has done a few confirmation services and visited the Diocesan spelling bee and faith bee in Harrisburg, but otherwise the Elysburg visit could be his first appearance at a public event since his installation last week, Joseph Aponick, director of communications for the diocese, said Thursday.
The Very Rev. Alfred Sceski, pastor of Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church and dean of the Northumberland Deanery, said the parish is honored to host the bishop on his first visit to the area as the new leader of the diocese.
"We're very excited about the bishop coming to the coal region and we are looking forward to many good things happening with our new leader," Sceski said.
The pastor commended active church member Paula Heitzman for organizing the rally and the bishop's visit.
The rally's initiative is about "waking up and strengthening the fighting spirit." Barry will offer a "positive, powerful and encouraging message" in his presentation, through which he attempts to get people to have a better understanding and deeper commitment to their spiritual lives.
Barry, who resides in Nebraska, will speak on the need to respond to the call from the church and Pope Francis to evangelize, unify in Christ's name and kindle the fire of the faith. He will talk about the spiritual fight everyone faces and will draw on scripture, church teaching and what the saints and popes have said in regard to being part of a spiritual fight.
A free-will offering will be taken at the rally.
Gainer, 66, a native of Pottsville, attended Mary, Queen of Peace Grade School, Pottsville. He graduated from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in June 1969 and a Masters of Divinity (summa cum laude) in June 1973. He attended the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, from 1984 to 1986, receiving the Licentiate degree in Canon Law and a diploma in Latin Letters in June 1986.
Gainer was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Allentown May 19, 1973, named a prelate of honor (monsignor) by Pope John Paul II on Aug. 20, 1991, named second bishop of Lexington, Ky., by Pope John Paul II on Dec. 2, 2002, and was ordained to the episcopacy by Archbishop of Louisville Thomas C. Kelly, and installed as Bishop of Lexington on Feb. 22, 2003.
During his 30 years as a priest of the Allentown Diocese, he was an assistant pastor at the former St. Bernard's Church in Easton and St. Catharine of Siena Church in Reading and a campus minister at Lafayette College in Easton, Kutztown University and Albright College in Reading. He was the judicial vicar of the diocese, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Whitehall, and the first Secretary of Catholic Life and Evangelization in the diocese.