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


  • 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

Feast of The Holy Family, 2013

Last updated on January 2, 2014

In the midst of the Season of Christmas we celebrate this feast of the Holy Family. Since Christmas is about good news for us, as the angel said on the first Christmas night, this feast draws us to find good news and encouragement for our own families.

There is no doubt that the image of the family is changing very quickly in our society. There are things that are encouraging and things that are discouraging in the way family life is lived out today. For Catholic Christians, the family continues to be one of the most important institutions in our modern society and in our Church.

In these times of change, it is good for us to remember what we as Catholics believe about the family. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “a man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family.” (CCC 2202) We are well aware that there are other people in our society who would have other definitions of family including our governments.


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Archbishop's Christmas Homily 2013

Last updated on January 7, 2014

In the dark of night an angel speaks, the message is simple: Do not be afraid; I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day a Saviour, who is the Christ, the Lord. This is the message of Christmas. It is a message that is spoken tonight to us.

It is said of this Mass for Christmas that it does not simply commemorate an event which happened in the past, but it takes that event of the past and makes it present to us. The mystery of the birth of Jesus, where the Son of God becomes also the Son of Mary, where God takes on our human condition, is not simply an event which took place two thousand years ago in Bethlehem.  In this sacrament of the Mass for Christmas, Jesus makes present to us his birth, his coming into our world and into our lives so we may enter into this miraculous happening as did the shepherds of Bethlehem long ago.

So let us then enter into the miracle of Christmas. Let us hear the message of the angel. It speaks...

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Dear friends and co-workers with our Lord Jesus;

This past spring, the Saskatchewan Legislature passed Bill 85. This Bill made wide-ranging changes to labour laws in Saskatchewan. As Archbishop of Regina, I wish to remind all Catholics, but especially employers and managers, that it is important to consider the greater flexibility granted by the revised law in view of the moral question of how we are to live out our Christian commitment to justice in the workplace.

Our Catholic teaching, as poignantly expressed in Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Letter Laborem Excercens ( #1), has consistently called our attention to “the dignity and rights of those who work” and seeks to “guide changes so as to ensure authentic progress” of each person and of society as a whole.

The place of ethics is supremely important as we seek the authentic well-being of people in the work place. Our legislators need truly to be at the service of the common good of their people. Ethics...

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Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Cathedral

Last updated on September 30, 2013

My dear friends, we are celebrating this weekend the 100th anniversary of the dedication of this cathedral building. For a century this building has been an impressive and beautiful sign of the presence of the community of faith that is the Roman Catholic Church in the city of Regina and throughout the area of southern Saskatchewan that makes up our Archdiocese.

This building has been a constant public reminder that the Good News of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to all who will listen to it. This Good News promises people light in their darkness, hope in times of fear and despair, strength when the weight of life becomes heavy and the joy of knowing God is continually with us every day of our lives.

A church building takes its name from those who gather in it; from us, we who are the Church, the People of God. A cathedral church is unique in every diocese. It takes its name from the Cathedra, the chair in which the bishop sits when he presides over the prayer of the...

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ArchBishops's Opening Homily for Schools

Last updated on September 25, 2013

Archbishop's Speaks to Regina Catholic Teachers

Last updated on September 8, 2013

My dear friends, we have had a power house of Saints’ Feast Days leading up to our Mass this morning. Tuesday was St. Monica whose perseverance in faith and example of living that faith brought about the difficult conversion of both her husband and her son, the great St. Augustine whose feast day followed on Wednesday. 

Augustine was one of the great lights of the Church and teachers of message of Jesus Christ. And today we commemorate the Passion of St. John the Baptist, the suffering and death of this man who gave his life in order to be faithful to God who had called him to prepare the way of the Lord and make straight the paths for the Son of God to come to his people. 

When we come together to begin this year of Catholic Education in the city of Regina, it is this faith of Monica and Augustine and John the Baptist that is at the heart not only of this Eucharistic Celebration but of everything that we do in our Catholic Schools. This faith in Jesus Christ the Son...

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Dedication of New Resurrection Church

Last updated on September 8, 2013

My dear sisters and brothers, we gather this evening, as God’s People, the Church, for this very special and solemn ceremony to dedicate this new church building to God. From very early times the building in which the Christian community gathers to hear the Word of God, to pray together, to celebrate the sacraments and to participate in the Eucharist has been given the name “church.”

This very special and beautiful building gets its name from us; for we are the church, the Body of Christ in our world. Because we come together in this building we bestow upon it our name: Church. We call it the house of God, because we, who are the temples in whom God dwells, come together here. So this holy ceremony not only dedicates this building, it allows us to celebrate the wondrous gifts that have been bestowed upon us by God, the Father who loves us, and who has called us to be part of the mission of his Son to the world in which we live.

The reading from the Letter to the...

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CWL Convention Opening Mass

Last updated on September 8, 2013

My dear friends, it is a very great pleasure for me to welcome all of you, members of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, from all over our country, to Regina for your National Convention. The fact that we come together to celebrate the Eucharist to begin this Convention is in effect a statement of who and what the Catholic Women’s League is. It says to everyone that you are women of faith. It says that the Christian faith that we all share is the reason that the Catholic Women’s League of Canada exists.

Your Mission Statement says this clearly: The Catholic Women's League of Canada is a national organization rooted in gospel values calling its members to holiness through service to the people of God.

Everything you do as League Members is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ who has proclaimed the Gospel, the Good news to us. That good news of Jesus transforms and guides us from moment to moment as we live our lives. In his Gospel, Jesus invites us into an...

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Riffel High School Graduation 2013

Last updated on July 9, 2013

My friends, it’s a great pleasure for me to be here with you this evening, to be a part of your graduation celebrations and to celebrate this Mass which asks God to bless all of you who are graduating from Riffel High School this year and to bless the future that lies ahead for you.

Graduation from High School is one of big things that we do in our lives. It has been a long time since I graduated from High School. So long that I won’t even say how long. But I remember very clearly everything about that event: Who I was sitting near on the stage, what it felt like, what we sang as a graduating class during the ceremony, what they played when we marched in. My High School graduation was one of the big turning points in my life. Although others would follow, this first one stays continually in my mind. It is a pleasant, pleasant memory for me.

Graduation marks a major turning point in the lives of each of you who is here celebrating your graduation this evening. Up until...

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Canada Day Mass 2013

Last updated on July 9, 2013

We come together for Mass on this Canada Day. Yet Canada Day is itself not a religious celebration. Nonetheless, we take advantage of this civic holiday to pray for our country and for those who govern it. We gather as Christian people, as members of the Catholic Church, to place our country into God’s hands so that God may protect it and all who live in it from harm.

We pray for wisdom in those who govern Canada, we pray that our country will be marked by “respect for human life and the dignity of every citizen, so that justice may flourish and all peoples live in unity and peace.” (Opening Collect)

To pray for our country and our world is part of the mission God has given to us, we who are His Church. As disciples of Jesus we understand that through our baptism we have been given a mission to carry out in our world and in our country. We are called to make known the Good News that Jesus proclaimed.

We do this by being witnesses to Christ everywhere we are. We...

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