Archbishop's Office

Archbishop Donald J. BolenArchbishop bolen

Appointed eighth Archbishop of the Regina Archdiocese
by Pope Francis on July 11, 2016.

Motto:   “Verbum Vitae / Mercy within Mercy within Mercy”                 

Biographical Notes

February 7, 1961: Born in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan. the son of the late Joseph (+1968) and Rose (+2006) Bolen.

October 12, 1991: Ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan

December 21, 2009: Appointed Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

March 25, 2010: Created Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

July 11, 2016:  Appointed Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan

October 14, 2016 Installed as Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan

Studies and Academic Degrees

1978-1984 (intermittently):   B.A. Honours in Religious Studies at the University of Regina

1986-1989:   B.Th. in Theology, Saint Paul University, Ottawa

1989-1990, 1993-94:    M.Th. and Licentiate in Theology, Saint Paul University, Ottawa

1994-1997, 2000-2001:   Work on D.Phil. in Theology, University of Oxford

Ministry and Other Positions

1991-1993: Associate Pastor, Estevan

1994:   Priest Moderator at Church of Our Lady, Moose Jaw

1997-1999:   

  • Faculty, Dept. of Religious Studies, Campion College, University of Regina
  • Priest Moderator, Milestone and Lang Parishes
  • Administrator, Paroisse St. Jean Baptiste, Regina
  • Chair of Ecumenical Commission, Archdiocese of Regina

2000-2001:

  • Faculty, Campion College, University of Regina
  • Priest Moderator, St. Jean-Baptiste, Regina
  • Chair of Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission

2001-2008:

Staff member at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome, staffing Anglican-Roman Catholic and Methodist-Roman Catholic relations and the preparation of texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Served as Co-secretary of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), the Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) and the Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Catholic Church. 

2009:   Nash Chair in Religion, Campion College, University of Regina

2009:   

  • Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Regina
  • Pastor of St. Joseph, Balgonie, St. Agnes, Pilot Butte, and St. Peter’s Colony, Kronau
  • Chair of Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission

CCCB Commissions and Committees

2011-present:   Member of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace

2012- present:   Co-Chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Dialogue

2014-present:   Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace

Organizations and Commissions of the Holy See

2012 to present:   Member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

2009 to present:   Member of the International Consultation Between the World Evangelical Alliance and the Catholic Church. 

2011 to present:   Co-Chair of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. 

2013 to present:   Co-Chair of the Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Catholic Church.

Honours: 

2008:   Awarded the Cross of Saint Augustine by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for service to relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion (2008).

2014:   Honorary Fellow of the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad, University of Saskatchewan. 

Coat of Arms

At the centre of Archbishop Donald Bolen’s Coat of Arms is the open word of God, an echo of the open book of the Gospels being held over his head when he was first ordained a bishop. On the book is the Latin phrase “Verbum Vitae,” that is, “the Word of Life.” The text comes in the first instance from the First Letter of John: “We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, the word of life...” (1 Jn. 1:1).  St. Paul also admonishes his hearers to “hold fast to the word of life” (Phil. 2:16).  

At the bottom of the Coat of Arms is a small banner that reads “mercy within mercy within mercy.”  The quotation is from Thomas Merton’s 1953 book The Sign of Jonas (Jonah), wherein Merton has God saying: “I have always overshadowed Jonas with my mercy....  Have you not had sight of me, Jonas, my child?  Mercy within mercy within mercy.”  The Word which Mary welcomes with her fiat, the Word which becomes incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, the Word who gives himself to us completely, even unto death, but which death cannot contain: what that Word speaks is mercy within mercy within mercy. The sword evokes the text from the Letter to the Hebrews (4:12), that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

The shepherd’s crook – a bishop’s staff – represents the apostolic calling to be a good shepherd, to feed the sheep, to take care of the lambs (Jn.10; Jn. 21). The shell is abundantly present in the iconography found within the Oratory of St. Francis Xavier “del Caravita” where Bishop Bolen served on the pastoral staff during his years in Rome, and symbolizes Baptism. Both the shepherd’s staff and the shell also symbolize being a pilgrim in a pilgrim Church. They speak directly of the camino to Santiago de Compostela which the Archbishop walked in preparation for his ministry in the Archdiocese.

The wheat sheaf, against the blue backdrop, speaks in the first instance of the Saskatchewan prairies, the vast sheltering skies beneath which we live, and the dignity of a way of life closely tied to the land. Jesus also speaks of his own paschal mystery in terms of the grain of wheat which falls to the ground and dies, and bears much fruit (Jn. 12:24). Wheat is also thus a symbol of the Eucharist, of the Lord’s invitation to receive his life-giving presence into our lives, to allow our lives to be broken and poured out for others. Alongside the shell, it speaks of the sacramental life of the Church, and also of ecumenical efforts to come to a shared sacramental life.

The hat with ten tassels on either side and the cross are emblematic of the hierarchical status of the episcopal office, and are present on every Roman Catholic archbishop’s coat of arms. The Cross with the fleur de lis, like every cross, symbolizes the paschal mystery, the saving death and resurrection of Jesus. The fleur de lis is also a symbol of French and francophones, and thus of Gravelbourg, the hometown of Archbishop Donald, and of the francophone communities within the Archdiocese. 

 

What's New

ECUMENISM MAKES ME FEEL GOOD 10/29/2011

Last updated on January 6, 2017

(OR “Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum)

As you know, our two dioceses: the Diocese of Qu’Appelle and the Archdiocese of Regina, entered into a Covenant last year. It was an ecumenical achievement of which we can be justifiably proud and which has drawn interest from far and wide. When our two dioceses first investigated the possibility of a covenant between us and then entered into that convenant at the beginning of this year, it was a great sign of hope for many of us and continues to be so.

I have been involved in ecumenical work for well over forty years of being a priest. Over and over again I have found that whenever we do something together, whenever we do something that affirms that we are indeed all Christians, that we are all sharing something very important to our faith that we hold in common, the atmosphere is always happy.

People spontaneously feel good about what we are doing with the Covenant, indeed about our coming together here...

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We celebrate today the Feast of St. Luke whom we recognize as the co-worker of St. Paul and who was the writer of the third Gospel. Luke is believed to be a physician and in his writings we sense that the human love of Jesus is of great importance for him, as well as is Jesus’ compassion for those who suffer and are outcast or pushed to the edge of society because they are sick or behaviour is seen to be sinful.

In the Gospel today we hear Luke tell us of the time Jesus sent his seventy disciples with a mission to get people ready for Jesus’ upcoming visit to them. He gives some practical rules they are to follow  and he ends his instructions by saying:“Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”

I find these verses of St. Luke’s Gospel very comforting and encouraging. Jesus came to bring peace to our lives, our homes, to the communities...

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Compassionate Healers Mass Homily, October 12th

Last updated on November 2, 2011

My dear brothers and sisters it is a great pleasure for me to be with you this evening to celebrate the Compassionate Healers’ Mass for the benefit and the intentions of all of those good and wonderful people who are involved in the ministry of healing and care of the sick in our Archdiocese. We come together here this evening as people who see health care as a ministry and not simply a profession or a job.

We are Christian health care workers; we are Catholic health care workers. We see health care as a ministry because we are followers of Jesus. We believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life for us: the way we follow every day, the truth we believe and the life we live. We see health care as a ministry because we know that Jesus has given us a share in the mission that he gave to the Church to carry out in the world we live in. Because we form part of the Church of Jesus Christ, because we are members of the very body of Jesus Christ by our baptism and our...

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My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is a great joy for me that we gather together today for this special Liturgy of Reconciliation. We celebrate this time of prayer in fulfillment of the commitment made in the Covenant which was signed this past January between the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. I believe it is most fitting that we celebrate this liturgy on the Feast of Pentecost.

This great feast brings the fifty day Season of Easter to its conclusion. In many ways Pentecost sums up the meaning of Jesus’ Resurrection both for ourselves personally but also for the Church which Jesus founded. It is commonly understood that the Church was born on this day, as Jesus breathed his risen life into the apostles and then gave the Church its mission.St John writes: Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy...

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My dear friends, I am very appreciative of this opportunity to be with you today for this special occasion and I thank you for your invitation to preside over this Mass of thanksgiving on the occasion of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood.

Being invited here today I thought was a good opportunity to find out more about this community which has been in Regina since 1933. Like many good things in life, one knows that the Sisters are here and we know that they are praying for us, but we often don’t know much about their history or the reason for their foundation. At least I need to speak for myself on this matter.

It was very encouraging, even very enlightening, to read about this community’s founding by Catherine Aurelia Caouette.  It was the first contemplative community to be founded in Canada.  And, as I understand it, its purpose is to adore Jesus, the Christ, whose sacrificial love has saved the...

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Regina Catholic Schools Opening of the School Year

Last updated on September 28, 2011

My dear friends, I have been away for the past three weeks on an adventure, accompanying 40 young people from our diocese on a pilgrimage in Italy and then the events of World Youth Day, which was held this year in Madrid Spain with one and a half million young Catholic people in joyful attendance.

Just before I left, I grabbed the sheet of paper that Myles Meyers had sent to the office with information about this Mass. I knew that I needed time to think about what I would say to you all today and two days after a long trip wouldn’t do it. So from time to time I would look at the readings for Mass and with what energy I had left after trying to keep up with a big crowd of 20 year olds in 38 degree temperatures, and I would think of their meaning for us.

It was the theme that you have chosen for the coming school year that kept popping up in my mind: “Go, make a difference.” So that’s what I would like to reflect on a bit this morning, for this theme, I believe...

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Graduation Mass Miller High School 2011

Last updated on August 2, 2011

My dear friends, let me say first how pleased I am to be with you, as your Archbishop, this afternoon to celebrate this Mass for you the Miller High School graduates. Graduation from High School is an extremely special event. While preparing for this Mass, I realized that it was 52 years ago this month that I graduated from High School in Moncton, New Brunswick. You probably can’t even imagine anyone being that old! It is somewhat a surprise for me as well!

Times have changed over the years, and the world has changed. Yet one thing doesn’t change: graduation from High School marks a major turning point in people’s lives. We move from childhood and adolescence into a new maturity and a new responsibility for our lives. This is one of the “hinge” moments in our life. What we remember especially today is that this is a hinge moment in the lives of a group of people who are Christian, who are Catholic Christian people. So we look to Jesus, the Son of God, for his words to us...

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Canada Day Mass 2011

Last updated on August 3, 2011

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, he has come to his people and set them free” My dear sisters and brothers, these words proclaiming freedom were spoken by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, on the birth of his son. Momentous words at a tremendously important birth, for John would be the one who went before the Messiah, announcing his coming and preparing his way.

It was freedom that Jesus, the Messiah, proclaimed to all who would listen. Jesus said that those who are his disciples will come to know the truth and the truth will set them free. Of all the benefits that we celebrate on this Canada Day, benefits which come to us from being citizens of this great and beautiful country in which we live, none is prized more highly, none is held with greater value than our individual freedom which is enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is sung in our National Anthem as we repeat: “O Canada, glorious and free, O Canada we stand on guard for thee.”

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Graduation Mass Miller High School 2011

Last updated on March 27, 2012

My dear friends, let me say first how pleased I am to be with you, as your Archbishop, this afternoon to celebrate this Mass for you the Miller High School graduates. Graduation from High School is an extremely special event. While preparing for this Mass, I realized that it was 52 years ago this month that I graduated from High School in Moncton, New Brunswick. You probably can’t even imagine anyone being that old! It is somewhat a surprise for me as well!

Times have changed over the years, and the world has changed. Yet one thing doesn’t change: graduation from High School marks a major turning point in people’s lives. We move from childhood and adolescence into a new maturity and a new responsibility for our lives. This is one of the “hinge” moments in our life. What we remember especially today is that this is a hinge moment in the lives of a group of people who are Christian, who are Catholic Christian people. So we look to Jesus, the Son of God, for his words to us....

Read More

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