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

1997-1999:   

  • 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

2000-2001:

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

2001-2008:

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

2009:   

  • 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.

Honours: 

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 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.

They...

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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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My dear friends, after five weeks of Lent , we prepare now to celebrate what is called the Paschal Mystery: the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Saviour of the world. Today is called “Passion Sunday,” because we turn our attention now towards the Passion, the suffering and death of Jesus. This is of great importance for us as Catholic Christians, because the death of Jesus on the cross was the one sacrifice offered to God by a human being which was perfect.

By offering his life on the Cross, Jesus took upon himself our sins and won for us forgiveness and salvation. And so we approach the Passion of Jesus today with hearts filled with gratitude. And we also approach Passion of Jesus with joy because it gained for us eternal life.

While the official name for today is “Passion Sunday,” we have popularly referred to today for a long time as “Palm Sunday” because of the ritual which begins the Liturgy. During this ritual we take palm branches and bless them...

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Archbishop Bohan's New Year's Day Homily, 2014

Last updated on January 2, 2014

Solemnity Of Mary the Mother of God

One of the long lasting memories of Christmas that I have goes back to my childhood. The memory is of coming down stairs on Christmas morning and going into our living room where the Christmas tree was. In our home we never trimmed the tree until Christmas Eve. We children would have to go to bed before the trimming was finished. So the first thing we saw on those early Christmas mornings was the Christmas tree, the floor under the tree covered with presents, and the tree wondrously  aglow with lights and decorations, shining in the still darkened room. It was a feeling unlike any other feeling any other time of the year.

The wondrous light, shining in the darkest of nights, filling those who saw it with wonder is one of the deepest images of Christmas. We sing: “Silent night, holy night, all is calm all is bright...glory streams from heaven afar... Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams from Thy Holy...

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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.

However...

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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

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