Appointed eighth Archbishop of the Regina Archdiocese by Pope Francis on July 11, 2016.
Motto: “Verbum Vitae / Mercy within Mercy within Mercy”
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.
On Dec.9 St Theresa's students and staff welcomed our new Archbishop Donald Bolen. Sister Anna had spent time with the Grade two children talking about Bishop Don. This is the time that they are invited to receive Confirmation and Communion. At our welcome, the children marched in wearing the paper mitres that they made for the occasion and singing a joyous song. The Archbishop spoke for a few minutes about his life and after a song, blessings and gifts we concluded our special time with Bishop Don by making him an honourary member of our school, singing: Feliz Navidad, and thanking him with a special blessing:
May the empathy of Christ find a home in you.
May the mercy of Christ be the coat you wear.
May the kindness of Christ season your life.
May the patience of Christ rest in you.
May the forgiveness of Christ flow out of your heart.
On October 14, 2016 Donald Bolen was installed as Archbishop of the Regina Archdiocese.
It was a coming home for the popular priest who was born in Gravelbourg in the Archdiocese of Regina, obtained his early and some post secondary education at Campion College, University of Regina, ordained priest October 12, 1991, spent seven years in Rome, a short stint as Regina Archdiocese Vicar General prior to his March 10, 2010 appointment as Bishop of Saskatoon where he served until appointed Archbishop of Regina by Pope Francis, July 11, 2016.
The installation ceremony in Holy Rosary Cathedral was full of music and colour with 15 bishops and Archbishops, including Canada’s Papal Nuncio Most Reverend Luigi Bonazzi, priests from Regina and Saskatoon and some visitors from Rome. It was ecumenical with greetings prior to mass from Very Reverend Lorne Crozon, on behalf of the clergy, Sister Theresa Frey O.B.V.M, Chair of the...
It was all fun and laughter, with one poignant moment as more than 200 invited guests attended a banquet at Resurrection Parish prior to the installation of Donald Bolen as Archbishop of the Regina Archdiocese (See separate story).
Archbishops, bishops, priests, clergy and guests from across Canada, friends and relatives enjoyed a couple of hours of relaxation with good food, greetings from several people and a presentation from two of Bolen’s sisters, Jeannette Moquin and Judy Corkery, who described growing up with their youngest and only male sibling. “We loved him when he was born; we pampered him.” A video produced by Dustin Corkery, one of Bolen’s nephews, showed him as a boy and young man (“with hair” Corkery joked about her brother). They also expressed a little fear that as Archbishop of Regina he may want to hear their confessions. “But that’s okay because we know a few things about him too,” they joked. “Saskatoon was good for him...
Wednesday night in Saskatoon, we celebrated a farewell Mass, and Fr. Lorne Crozon attended the celebration and spoke a few words on behalf of the people of the Archdiocese of Regina. He said “we’re not stealing your bishop. We’re simply taking him back.” Thank you for taking me back. While it was difficult to leave Saskatoon, it is very good to be home, and even as I am being welcomed, it is a blessing to be able to join in welcoming so many other people here tonight, in the Cathedral and in the hall below, from near and far, and others following by live stream.
We might begin with a prayer from the 2nd reading, St. Paul writing to the Ephesians: “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
As we set out on a journey together, I pray for all of us what Paul prays for: that we...
REGINA - Anglicans in the Diocese of Qu'Appelle are welcoming the announcement by Pope Francis that Bishop Don Bolen of Saskatoon will be the next Roman Catholic Archbishop of Regina.
Speaking from Toronto, where he is attending the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, Bishop of Qu'Appelle, Rob Hardwick said, "This is wonderful news. Archbishop Bolen has been a faithful partner in the Gospel. I look forward to working with him to advance our shared mission."
In 2011, the Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina signed a Covenant to work and worship together more closely. Then-Monsignor Bolen was the principal architect of the agreement. Archbishop Bolen had previously worked at the Vatican as part of the staff responsible for Roman Catholic relations with the Anglican Communion. He was awarded the Cross of St. Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2008 in recognition of his service to Anglican - Roman Catholic...
By now you will have received the news that I have been appointed by Pope Francis as the Archbishop of Regina. I write this note with many and conflicting emotions, held together by a deep and abiding trust in God’s mercy and faithfulness.
Serving with you in the Diocese of Saskatoon these past six-plus years has been one of the great joys and privileges of my life. Under the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI then of Pope Francis, together we have sought to address pastoral challenges within our parishes and communities. With an exceptional team of clergy and lay leadership, we have sought to be a church that in our parishes and outreach proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ, trying to live the Gospel with integrity, mindful always of the mercy of God at the source of our calling. We have striven to be a church in dialogue with our culture, with other Christian communities and with adherents of other religious traditions, always...
After the death of Most Rev. Archbishop Daniel Bohan, most people of the Archdiocese of Regina may wonder how a new Archbishop would be chosen. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the process for selecting a bishop.
Who has the authority to choose a new bishop? The short answer is the Pope with the help of the Holy Spirit. Remember, Christ has not abandoned his Church, and continues to guide and govern her through the Holy Spirit. Basically, the Pope can appoint any Catholic priest to be a bishop, the actual process usually involves many people. This process can be seen in two parts: first selecting the right priests, and secondly, choosing the one who best fills a specific vacant See.
I - Selecting the right priest(s)
The development of selecting priests with the particular qualities desired in a bishop is an ongoing process, which begins even when there are no vacancies. The bishops of a provincial...
”Pope Francis would be pleased to hear what is here,” said Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi after he received briefings from all eight of the Saskatchewan School Divisions. It was the first day of a week-long Saskatchewan visit that had him bless and dedicate the Sisters Legacy Monument in Wascana Park (see PM October 7 issue), visit all Saskatchewan Catholic dioceses and visit Catholic schools in each diocese. He finished the week with a full day in Regina, beginning with breakfast at the Hotel Saskatchewan, meeting recipients of Papal Honours and other guests, touring several Regina Catholic schools then celebrating an evening mass to mark the centennial of Regina becoming an Archdiocese.
Saskatchewan Catholic Schools Boards Association (SCSBA) Executive Director Ken Loehndorf led off the October,1, meeting with the Nuncio describing the SCSBA emphasizing Saskatchewan Catholic School’s constitutional rights. “We are one of only three provinces that have that right...
My dear friends, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all of you for coming out this evening for this Compassionate Healer’s Mass and for joining in this time of prayer and praise of God. Sickness and the disruption it brings are a very big part of our human lives.
I attended the Pilgrimage last month in Kronau. And for those of you who have attended pilgrimages, you know that the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is always a part of the Mass. In the past at such occasions I would remind people that this Sacrament is for people who are dealing with a serious illness, something that disrupts their lives. And then when the Sacrament of the Sick is given, everyone who is there comes up to be anointed. It taught me just how much people’s lives are disrupted and threatened by sickness. It reminded me how much we all seek healing in our lives. So I don’t give the instruction any more.
The heart of Jesus teaching is the Kingdom of God. We should not be...