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Rev. Ronald Gainer installed as new bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Amid all the pomp and solemnity of his installation Wednesday as Harrisburg's new Roman Catholic bishop, the Rev. Ronald Gainer showed his sense of humor.

In his homily, the 66-year-old Gainer reflected on his 29 years as a priest in the Allentown diocese and his 11 years as bishop in Lexington, Kentucky

"While the song in my heart now will once again be the 'Pennsylvania Polka,' there will always be an echo of 'My Old Kentucky Home' in my heart," he said to rousing applause.

As the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Pottsville native is the spiritual leader of nearly 250,000 central Pennsylvania Catholics who live in the 15 counties the diocese encompasses.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput presided over the installation Mass at Harrisburg's St. Patrick Cathedral, which was attended by a large number of bishops and priests as well as Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the papal representative to the United States.

Gainer succeeds Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, who died May 2 of a heart attack after feeling ill while attending a meeting in Philadelphia of the Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania.

The new bishop holds a master of divinity degree from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood and also studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

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