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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


  • 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


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


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


  • 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.


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

Together for Peace

Last updated on February 27, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The theme of this year’s Share Lent campaign is Together for Peace.  How much the world indeed needs us to be together for peace! 

The day before he died, Christ himself prayed for peace. Through profound prayer, he expressed his mission of bringing peace to our world, reconciling us to the Father and to one another. As disciples of Christ, we are to become peace-makers in our homes, parishes, and communities. We are also invited to help other nations to build peace and reconciliation amongst their people.

Development and Peace’s materials can help us to do this by deepening our understanding of peace-building through dialogue and reconciliation. The continuum of dialogue to reconciliation and peace can require courage; especially when there is a power imbalance.  This is often the case for people in the Global South who seek justice in a peaceful manner.  The Share Lent materials feature four partner organizations who have...

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February 23-Pray and Fast For Peace

Last updated on February 8, 2018

Pope Francis has invited Roman Catholics, all Christians and members of other religions to observe Feb. 23 as a day of prayer, fasting and initiatives for peace.

On Sunday Pope Francis while addressing tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly blessing, urged everyone to ‘say no’ to violence and conflict. The appeal is because of the “tragic prolonging” of conflicts around the world.

Feb. 23 is a Friday in the first full week of season of Lent, during which fasting from food and extra acts of charity are encouraged as a sign of penitence. Pope Francis said “everyone, in their own consciences, before God, should ask ‘what can I do for peace?’”
“Surely, we can pray but not only: each one of us can say ‘no’ to violence in their own way, because victories obtained through violence are false victories while working for peace benefits all,” he said.  He specifically invited non-Catholics and non-Christians to join the initiative in any way they...

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Theodore School Request

Last updated on January 17, 2018

Dear Parishioner;

Regina Catholic Schools are working with all Catholic schools in Saskatchewan to preserve the gift of publicly funded Catholic education for all who want it.

More details can be found at

The goals of our efforts are not simply to raise funds, but above all to raise awareness of and support for Catholic education in Saskatchewan. We are one of only three provinces where Catholic education is fully funded, and we need to work together to ensure that our schools survive and thrive despite the cultural and legal challenges that we are currently facing.

Thank you for making this a priority.

Grace and peace in the Lord Jesus,

 Regina Catholic Schools


To read the letter from the Bishops Click here

Archbishop's New Year's Message

Last updated on January 3, 2018

By Frank Flegel


REGINA……Archbishop Donald Bolen invited his New Year’s Day congregation to let go of the past year, to look forward and do something new.  He quoted a poem illustrating this sentiment of not dwelling on the past, by a favourite writer of his, English writer and poet G. K. Chesterton. The Archbishop issued this invitation as part of his homily for the January 1 mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral.

He began by reminding everyone New Year’s Day is really three celebrations: It is the Octave of Christmas, the Feast of Mary the Mother of God; the World Day of Prayer for Peace; and New Year’s Day.

Bolen painted a picture of Mary “pondering in her heart” the things the shepherds saw and heard that prompted them to come to the manger; she noted the contrast of the quiet scene in the manger that gives hope and joy to us, with the insecurities and struggles of our world today and perhaps with our struggles in our own lives as we look to a new year....

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Last updated on January 2, 2018

by Frank Flegel

The Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi continues to attract more than just the Filipino population, if attendance at the final night of this year’s celebration is any indication. Holy Rosary Cathedral had few empty seats for the December 23 evening service. The cathedral congregation was liberally sprinkled with non-Filipino faces who came from all over the city.

“My wife, Claire, and I went to The Philippines a few years ago with some Filipino friends and took part in the tradition there,” said Joe Zerr, one of the faces in the crowd. “I guess it’s about being with Filipino friends. It’s a nice tradition.” Archbishop Donald Bolen again celebrated the closing mass and thanked the Filipino community for bringing their Catholic faith and “this beautiful tradition to the Regina Archdiocese.”

Simbang Gabi (Filipino for night mass) was first celebrated in Regina in 2014 at St. Mary’s Church when Filipino priest Reverend Danilo Rafael was pastor. He...

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Archbishop's Christmas Message 2017

Last updated on March 16, 2018

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 Greetings of peace and joy to you, in the Christ Child who is born among us.

 Years ago, living and working in Rome, I had the chance to visit Naples, and a particular district in Naples where they make and sell beautiful handmade nativity scenes. The most interesting thing to discover was that the charming little buildings housing the manger and neighbourhood all resembled their own humble dwellings. They were depicting Jesus being born into their reality.

 It is a beautiful thing to note how Christian communities in different places around the world, with very different cultures, have produced nativity scenes and characters that depict what a birth in very humble circumstances would look like for them. This isn’t the self-centredness of each culture on display, but rather, a profound insight: that Jesus, who was born at one particular place and time, does indeed come to all of us, comes to seek...

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Archdiocesan Priorities Ready in Spring

Last updated on December 14, 2017

By Frank Flegel

The December 2, 2017, Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (APC) spent a major portion of their time identifying specific actions to move toward achieving the four Archdiocesan priorities Archbishop Bolen announced last August. The APC meeting identified focused work areas ­- categories of work that will accomplish the priorities - according to Leah Perrault who is playing a leading role in the process.

Archbishop Bolen said he had arrived at the four priorities after a period of discernment that included prayer, and wide consultations with groups, organizations and staff throughout the archdiocese. Each of the four has an explanatory paragraph expanding on the original priority

Building vital and viable parish faith communities: Each parish is called to be a genuine community of faith with sustainable spiritual, financial, human, and capital resources Living Evangelization and Discipleship: Our world needs to meet Jesus and each of us needs to... Read More

Archbishop Bolen Invested with the Pallium

Last updated on December 5, 2017

By Frank Flegel

Monday, November 27, 2017, was a normal work day, yet Holy Rosary Cathedral was almost full of the faithful who came to witness the Papal Nuncio to Canada invest Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen with the Pallium. As Apostolic Nuncio to Canada Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi is a representative of Pope Francis, an ambassador, located in Ottawa and is a living reminder of the universality of the Catholic Church.  

The Pallium the Nuncio was here to present a liturgical vestment symbolizing the authority of Donald Bolen as Archbishop and as Metropolitan of Saskatchewan. It is also a symbol of personal loyalty to the Pope and thereby a sign of unity between a local Church and the universal Church, according to an explanation in the investiture program.  The Pallium is woven from lamb’s wool and is often described as a symbol of the Archbishop as the shepherd of his flock.

His Excellency Bonazzi conducted the introductory Rites to open the service and gave a...

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Archbishop Moves to St. Mary's Rectory

Last updated on November 14, 2017

By Frank Flegel

St. Mary’s Church rectory in east Regina has a new tenant on the second floor. Archbishop Donald Bolen was looking for more modest quarters when St. Mary’s Pastor, Reverend Ed Hengen, offered the vacant second floor of his rectory. “I had seven rooms up there,” said Hengen. They would need some changes, but he offered the space to the Archbishop.

Director of Pastoral Services, Robert Kowalchuk, who has several trade skills, offered to oversee the project and asked his Resurrection Parish fellow Knights of Columbus to help. “The Resurrection Parish Knights have traditionally, in recent years, offered their services to the Archbishop whether it’s hosting an event for priests or Chancery office staff at the Archbishop’s home,” said Kowalchuk, “and they stepped up to the plate again.” The two bathrooms on the second floor required some upgrading, there was no kitchen, and doors had to be installed in a couple of locations to make the space private. A new...

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Whisper Within Me That Word

Last updated on October 20, 2017

Archbishop Bolen has published an article on the Annunciation mosaic in the Queen of Peace Chapel at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon.

Years ago, when working in Rome, I went to Florence with a list of things to see, including Fra Angelico’s Annunciation, It didn’t disappoint. You climb a large flight of stairs, expecting to catch your breath, and instead you find yourself greeted at the top of the stairwell by a painting that takes your breath away. The stunning beauty of the angel Gabriel and his bright wings, arms crossed, head bowed, his body leaning in expectancy and reverence; Mary herself knocked breathless by the sight and the message of the angel, disarmed by what is being asked of her.

You can continue to read the article and enjoy the stunning beauty of the mosiac in this article:


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