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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

Archbishop's Homily on the Family

Last updated on January 1, 2015

My dear brothers and sisters, we continue our celebration of the Nativity of our Lord, Jesus Christ on this Sunday that follows Christmas. As soon as we talk about the birth of a baby, we very quickly begin to think about the family that welcomes this baby. On this Sunday following Christmas we turn our minds and our hearts towards the family of Jesus – to Mary and Joseph and their new child. And of course when we do that we also immediately think about our own families.

Are our families important? Of course they are - each and every one of them; just as important to us as Jesus’ family was to him. We don’t know very much about those years of Jesus’ growing up. St. Luke gives us a little glimpse of this new family as it carried out all the observances of their faith required after the birth of a child. Unusual and dramatic things happened to this young couple and their baby boy as they were there in the temple in Jerusalem that day.They encountered an elderly man named...

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Archbishop Bohan's Christmas Homily 2014

Last updated on January 4, 2015

Memories seem to play a big part in what goes on around Christmas. At this time of year we all seem to think about the Christmases of our childhoods. My memories are very good and fill me with warm and nostalgic feelings. And I am very grateful for that. Yet I know that for some people, memories of Christmas are not happy. And the feelings they raise are not good or pleasant ones. This is real as well.

In those Christmases of mine, long ago, while I was caught up in the excitement and anticipation of all that was happening and about to happen, I was probably not paying a whole lot of attention to my mother and father who were very, very busy getting ready all of those things I and my brothers and sisters were so eagerly looking forward to.

They were pretty tired and probably stressed out. There was not a lot of money to spare in raising a family of several children. So the challenge of bringing about a “happy Christmas” for all of us was very real. Christmas is about...

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Archbishop Bohan's Homily at Shaunavon's 100th

Last updated on October 21, 2014

My dear sisters and brothers, it is a great pleasure for me to be here as your bishop to celebrate with you the 100th anniversary of your parish. As with many of the parishes in our archdiocese, the first priests to come to Shaunavon over one hundred years ago celebrated Mass in various homes throughout the district. For  over 100 years now, the Catholic Community has lived and celebrated its faith in this community.

We know the church is not first of all a building of wood and plaster. Rather the church is a building constructed out of “living stones”. In other words,  all of you who are parishioners here and all of those who came before you -  as St. Paul wrote:“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”

This community of  baptized people, this community that is the church, has come together in three successive church buildings since the first basement church was built in 1914. This community of faith endured many challenges and...

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My dear friends, I try to go around and visit our Catholic Schools as often as I can. I find there is something special there. I talk with people who are involved in Catholic Education about why this is. It usually comes round to thedifferencethat is found in our schools compared to other schools. The difference is found in the way we deal with and treat the children and young people who come to us to learn. That difference comes directly from the faith that all of you who staff our schools and offices have within you.

Now, there are many different ways that this faith takes root in our hearts and in the way we live our lives. We look at each other and see these differences. When I look at my own life, I couldn’t count all the people who have left the mark of their love of God and of the Catholic Faith on me. And I know that it is the same for you. There is no one way that we live our Catholic faith. There is no one way that we witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.


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Archbishop Bohan's Canada Day Homily

Last updated on July 3, 2014

My dear friends, we come together to celebrate Mass on this Canada Day to say thank you to God for the blessings we enjoy and to pray for our country. In the Opening Prayer of this Mass we pray for three things. First we pray for our political leaders, for those who govern us. We ask God to grant them wisdom. Wisdom is a word we use a lot. I have just finished celebrating Confirmation in the archdiocese, visiting thirty parishes and Confirming hundreds of children. As you all know well, Wisdom is the first gift given to us when we receive in Confirmation the fullness of God’s Spirit.

Being wise means knowing what is the right thing to do; it means being marked by deep understanding, keen discernment, and a capacity for sound judgment. We can easily understand why this would be a gift and a quality that would enable our political leaders to govern our country for the benefit of all its citizens.

But Wisdom comes not only through experience of life but also as a gift...

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Dear friends,

Today we bring to a close the Easter Octave. Perhaps many don’t realize that the Church celebrates Easter Day for eight days. It is such an important event that one day is not enough, so for eight days in the prayers of the Church it is Easter Day.

We certainly celebrate with great joy the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, conquering death and all the forces of darkness. But also we celebrate the fact that we also will rise from the dead in him, and we also will live where death and darkness can no longer touch us. As St. John wrote in the Book of Revelation: “God himself will be with them;*4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more…” In the second reading this morning, St. Peter wrote:“by his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

This is good news for us! And God asks us to find joy in this Good News...

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Archbishop Bohan's Good Friday Homily, 2014

Last updated on April 26, 2014

This Good Friday Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion begins with silence and our own personal prayers. On this most solemn of days, each of us speaks our heart to God in those moments of silence. We bring our own selves, our own lives here and we place our selves and our lives at the foot of the Cross of Jesus. In the prayer that collects all our personal prayers together, we spoke to God the Father, telling God that we believe that God has abolished death; death which is every human being’s inheritance from our first parents. God accomplishes this by the suffering and death of Jesus, God’s Son.

Death is the ultimate result of sin. In the history of God’s people, the Israelites, the High Priest needed to offer sacrifices so that sins would be forgiven. Those sacrifices had to be repeated over and over and over because they did not have the power to end the reign of sin which was rooted in people’s lives.

The early Christians understood that Jesus was the great high priest...

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Archbishop Bohan's Easter Vigil Homily, 2014

Last updated on April 26, 2014

All of us who come to here tonight to take part in the Easter Vigil know that this Liturgy is not short! That means that we all come here because we are willing to spend some time with our Lord. We gather in the dark, even the church is dark. We are still keeping watch remembering that Jesus lies in the darkness of the tomb. We have all had people who were close to us die. We know what it means to keep vigil with someone who lies in death.

However, we watched as a light came into the darkness, a single flame. We might have thought: “Goodness, that one flame gives a lot of light!” And then the light spread throughout the whole church and each of us held the flame in our hands. As we looked at the flame our hearts reaffirmed our belief that was expressed in the Easter Proclamation, that “This is the night when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious” from the tomb.

In the Gospel we heard the message from the angel given to Mary Magdalene and the other...

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Archbishop Bohan's Holy Thursday Homily, 2014

Last updated on April 24, 2014

My dear sisters and brothers, as we come together to celebrate this Mass of the Lord’s Supper on this Holy Thursday evening, we begin the Sacred Easter Triduum. What do we mean by the “Triduum?” Well, the word “Triduum” means “Three Days.” This Triduum, these Three Days that we begin this evening, are the  most sacred and holy days of the whole year for Catholic Christians.

To understand these Three Days we need to tell time the way Jesus and his apostles told time. For us, the new day begins at midnight. But for the people of Jesus time, the new day began four hours or so earlier at sunset. So a day didn’t go from midnight to midnight as with us, but from sunset to sunset.

So this evening we are just beginning the first day of the Easter Triduum. We begin the Triduum by being with Jesus as he and his disciples celebrate the Passover Meal. During this meal, they remembered the wonderful ways God had shown his love, forgiveness and salvation to them.


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Archbishop's Chrism Homily 2014

Last updated on April 16, 2014

The Mass that we are celebrating today is called The Chrism Mass. Chrism is a very special oil that the Church uses in the celebration of some of the sacraments. It is a very pure olive oil that is mixed with balsam, which is a noticeably fragrant perfume with a lovely, pleasant aroma. Chrism is used to anoint people and so consecrate them to God.

When you and I were baptized, we were anointed with the Oil of Chrism and we were consecrated to God. When we were Confirmed, we were again anointed with the Oil of Chrism and so were given by the Holy Spirit all the gifts we needed in order to do the things that God now calls us to do. We consecrate new Chrism at this Mass so that the Church will have fresh Chrism to anoint our new adult members who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil throughout the diocese.

Every time we come to church to celebrate the Eucharist, we come so that we may encounter the person of Jesus Christ and deepen our relationship with him. We come to...

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Easter Message 2018: Bishop Don

Easter Message 2017: Bishop Don