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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

Grace and peace to you in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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...

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How To Choose A Bishop

Last updated on February 2, 2016

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...

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Pope Francis would be pleased

Last updated on October 20, 2015

”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...

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Homily for Compassionate Healer's Mass 2015

Last updated on September 12, 2015

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...

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Good morning dear friends. I hope you are all as happy as you sound this morning. I thank you for inviting me to be a part of this celebration which marks the beginning of a new school year in our Catholic Schools. It is a very special celebration, so let us open our hearts this morning to the gifts that God is anxious to give to us.

Last week I took part in an ecumenical service at St. Michael’s Retreat. It marked the departure of the Franciscans after over 50 years of service at St. Michaels. I had shared with them an event in the life of St. Francis and I would like to share it with you this morning. I believe you will easily see the connection.

St. Francis “was a great preacher so that, when he entered a village or town, people would flock to hear him, sometimes in their hundreds and even thousands. Telling a brother that they were going to a certain village to preach you can imagine his consternation when Francis wandered through the village greeting and talking...

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Three Events Marked at Rama Pilgrimage

Last updated on September 10, 2015
The pilgrimage at Rama in August celebrated three historical events. It began on August 14 with the Vigil of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary Many pilgrims gathered in the evening at The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Rama. Priests were available for hearing confessions, The Yorkton Filipino Choir sang hymns of Praise to Mary before the Mass and Burns-Hanley of Regina were on site for those who wished to purchase any religious articles that would later be blessed on August 15. The Celebration of the Holy Eucharist began with nine priests and Bishop Bryan Bayda who came in procession from the church to the grotto. St. Anthony's Choir also in procession and altar servers along with the Knights of Columbus and the banner carriers also joined in the procession. Fr. Marcin Mironiuk OMI, parish priest, welcomed everyone and introduced all the concelebrants who came from many areas even as far as Brooklyn, New York and Madagascar.Bishop Bryan Bayda presented the homily while Fr.... Read More

Archbishop's Reverence for Life Letter

Last updated on March 16, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

“.…Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing…. So go forth and don’t be discouraged. Care for life.  It’s worth it.” Pope Francis (when he was still Cardinal Bergoglios.

As you begin your preparations for this school year, I invite you to join me in celebrating, with all the Archdiocese of Regina, the third annual Reverence for Life month this October.

It is a time when we can teach and bring to light the intrinsic value that each human person is given by God our Father. Each stage of life presents its own unique challenges and struggles.  From the tiny preborn baby, the young child, adolescents, young adults, those with disabilities and the elderly – each life carries with it a dignity and value deserving of our care, respect and reverence.  Reverence for Life month is a time to celebrate the beautiful gifts God has given us.  It is a time to promote and facilitate the...

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Saskatchewan Youth Visual Art Project

Last updated on April 14, 2015

An unframed painting titled Love Knows No Color by Saskatoon Nutana Collegiate Grade 12 student Joyce Kandakai took first prize in the fourth annual Provincial Youth Visual Art Project. The work is an acrylic on canvas that shows two young people, one black, the other white sharing, an ice cream cone. Kandakai took home a $125 cheque, plus a certificate, plaque and medallion. The presentations took place April 11 at the MacKenzie Art Gallery where 14 of the art works were exhibited. They will be displayed at the North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) conference scheduled for July 11-22 at Luther College, University of Regina and are available as an exhibition to any high school that requests it. Multi-Faith Saskatchewan will exhibit the works at all its functions this year.

Janel Broqueza, a Grade 11 student from Melfort took 2nd prize and a cheque for $100, Grade 10 student Brooklyn Beavnet from Saskatoon’s Centennial High school took 3rd and a $75 cheque and Benson...

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Archbishop's Homily for Epiphany 2015

Last updated on January 5, 2015

My dear brothers and sisters, our Catholic faith has been keeping us busy over this last week and a half. During the last ten days we have celebrated four great Feast Days of our faith in Jesus Christ. We have gathered as the Church to celebrate the Birth of Jesus which gave us the assurance that in every aspect of our life, Jesus is God-with-us. We are never left alone or abandoned.

Last Sunday was the Feast of the Holy Family emphasizing that our families are important to God and blessed by God. On January 1, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God assured us that we too are God’s children who dare to call God our “Father.” And today we recall again the story of the Wise Men who journeyed from the East, from pagan lands, to find the “child who had been born king of the Jews.”

This Feast Day is called “The Epiphany of the Lord.” The word Epiphany means a “manifestation.” Did you ever find that you were puzzling about something you couldn’t quite figure out? You kept...

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My dear friends, in my younger days, I used to ask why is New Year’s a holy day of Obligation? Everybody is out celebrating the New Year on New Year’s Eve, so they don’t have time to go to Mass and on New Year’s Day everyone is too tired to go to Mass.  Everyone who went to Confession during Advent to get ready for Christmas finds that within a week they are in the state of sin again because they missed Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation! Seemed strange to me.

However, since those days, I have learned that we don’t go to Mass today because it’s New Years, we go to Mass today because it is the final day of the eight day celebration of Christmas Day in the Catholic Church. And on this Octave Day or eighth day we celebrate the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, as a very important part of our celebration of the Birth of Jesus. For when God’s Son, was born as Mary’s son, this meant that in Jesus, God has become a human being in order to share our humanity and save us from darkness, sin...

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