Bishop Gainer

Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is seen in this file photo from Aug. 1, 2018.

Catholic bishop announces 4 clergy changes

Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg has announced four clergy changes, two of which affect a Lancaster church. The changes took effect June 26.

The Rev. John B. Bateman will serve as administrator of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, more commonly known as Historic St. Mary’s Church, 119 S. Prince St. Previously, Bateman was assigned with the Archdiocese for the Military Services.

The Rev. Brian J. Wayne, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, has been granted a leave of absence for personal reasons.

The other clergy changes are the Rev. David R. Hereshko’s appointment to pastor of Mary Gate of Heaven in Myerstown, and the Rev. Jose Mera-Vallejos’ appointment to pastor of Saint Benedict the Abbot in Lebanon.

Gainer made the assignment decisions with the Priest Personnel Board, as is standard procedure.

Volunteers needed for Alaska mission

Mennonite Disaster Services, an organization of U.S. and Canadian Mennonite churches, is seeking volunteers for an upcoming mission in Willow, Alaska.

The group will repair and rebuild homes in the 2,100-person Alaskan town that were damaged in an August 2019 wildfire.

A news release from Mennonite Disaster Services states that while many residents have gathered funds for foundations for their homes, they now face a shortage of resources.

There’s also a race against time, as the mission will work to finish the homes before winter.

“By mid-September the temperature drops and the snow could begin to fall,” Steve Wiest, regional operations coordinator for Mennonite Disaster Services, said in the news release. “If we are going to act, the time is now.”

Volunteers will help build five new homes from July 13 to Sept. 11. Volunteers will stay at LaDaSa Camp in Willow, which is about 70 miles from Anchorage.

Volunteers will be required to have a COVID-19 test before leaving home, and another while on location in Alaska.

The project will be one of the first Mennonite Disaster Services has coordinated since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For more information about the Willow project, visit

To volunteer, visit