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

Homily for Father Joel Rama's Funeral

Last updated on July 31, 2012

My dear friends, I thank you for coming here today to show your respect and affection for Fr. Joel. In our prayers today we place into God’s safe and gentle hands our brother in faith and our brother in Christ’s priesthood. We do this in sorrow over the loss of a gentle and dedicated pastor and friend.  And we do so also in faith. For we know that what has united all of us with Fr. Joel is our faith in Jesus the Christ, the saviour who delivers us from death and gives us the fullness of life forever. And as is the ancient practice of the Church, we offer to God our Father the Eucharistic sacrifice of Jesus, our Saviour, so that our brother Joel may be purified to enter the eternal home that our Lord Jesus Christ has prepared for him. 

I extend my deepest sympathies to the people of St. John the Baptist parish and the parishes of St. Monica in Bienfait and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Macoun who have lost a kind and dedicated pastor. And also to the communities of...

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O'Neil High School Graduation Homily

Last updated on July 31, 2012

Well, my dear friends, let me say first how pleased I am to be with you, as your Archbishop, this evening to celebrate this Graduation Mass with you, the O’Neil High School graduating students. I’m not telling you something you don’t know when I say that graduation from High School is an extremely special event. It is the graduation we seem to remember more than any others that might follow.

Maybe that’s so because, for most of us, it marks our first real stepping off into our future, a tangible act of real independence. So we remember it for a long time. While preparing for this Mass, I realized that it is over 50 years ago this month that I graduated from High School in Moncton, New Brunswick. You probably can’t even imagine anyone being that old! Surprises me a bit too, actually!

We remember High School graduation because it is a major turning point in our lives. We move from childhood and adolescence into a new maturity and we begin to take a new responsibility...

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Homélie de confirmation en français

Last updated on June 22, 2012

Plus tôt ce printemps, j’ai visité une de nos écoles catholiques pour passer un peu de temps avec la classe des finissants. C’était pour échanger avec eux et pour répondre à toute question qu’ils pouvaient avoir au sujet de notre foi. Parfois ces questions peuvent être profondes et difficiles à répondre.  Durant cette rencontre, l’une des questions était : « Pourquoi avez-vous décidé de devenir catholique? »  Je suppose que c’est une très bonne question à poser à un archevêque.

Pendant que je me préparais pour cette célébration de confirmation et de première communion, je pensais à cette question, parce que ces deux sacrements font  précisément partie du fait de devenir catholique.  Ce sont des sacrements d’initiation  qui font entrer dans l’Église.

En commençant à répondre à la question qui m’avait été posée, j’ai dit aux jeunes que je n’avais pas vraiment décidé d’être catholique. Quand j’étais un petit bébé, juste après ma naissance, j’ai été emmitouflé dans une...

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Confirmation Homily

Last updated on June 22, 2012

Earlier on in the spring I visited one of our Catholic Schools to spend a little time with the graduating class, to talk with them and answer any questions they had about our faith. I enjoy doing that with them. The questions sometimes can be very challenging and profound. During this meeting one of the questions was “Why did you decide to become a Catholic?”  I suppose this is a very good question to ask an Archbishop.

I thought of that question as I was preparing for these celebrations of Confirmation and First Communion, because these two sacraments are all about becoming a Catholic. They are Sacraments of Initiation into the Church.

When I began to answer the question that was put to me, I told the young people that I didn’t really decide to become a Catholic, my parents decided that for me when, as a newly born baby, I was wrapped up and brought to the Church to be baptized very soon after I was born. Very much, I would suspect, as is the case for most of the...

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Archbishop Bohan's Homily for Easter Vigil

Last updated on May 21, 2012

My dear sisters and brothers, the last time the Church gathered was to enter into the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, yesterday, on Good Friday. Along with our brothers and sisters in faith all over the world, we left the church yesterday in silence. We had listened to the telling of Jesus’ suffering and death. In awe of its magnitude we went forward to touch the wood of the cross in veneration; as we touched the cross with our hands, in our hearts we adored Jesus who saved us by the total giving of himself, this perfect sacrifice offered to God. Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb and the darkness of night came upon us.

We gathered again tonight and began our worship surrounded by the darkness. I don’t know how this experience affects you, but when the last of the lights are put out in the church and total darkness immerses us, it is always makes me feel uneasy. We cannot see and so we lose our sense of being in control. The blackness hems us in and confines us in a way. We...

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Homily for Good Friday

Last updated on May 21, 2012

One of the most enjoyable things I do as Bishop is to have opportunities to talk to the children and young people in our diocese and listen to their questions about God and about our faith. Some of those questions are very challenging. I was asked once “Why did Jesus have to die such a terrible death?” And of course, linked to this question is “Why does God allow evil to exist in the world?” “Why does God allow people to suffer, especially the innocent and the good?”

These questions come back to me on days like today when we think seriously about the suffering and death of Jesus. Can we find answers to our questions here as we listen to a story that has been told and retold for two thousand years? Jean Vanier has written a book on the Gospel of John. In it he says “The death of Jesus is one of the most dramatic events in the history of humanity.” In Jesus’ death on the cross we come face to face with this mystery of good and evil in our world. And as we listen to this Gospel...

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Holy Thursday

Last updated on May 21, 2012

My dear sisters and brothers, we gather together this evening in a liturgy of great solemnity and beauty to begin the Sacred Triduum. Sometimes when I go to Mass and rather than concelebrate I sit with the congregation; I look around at all the people who are there and wonder at the great variety of people I see. Do you ever do that? Because we see a wonderful variety of people: all ages of people, different nationalities, people who are well off, people who are not so well off and people who are somewhere in between.  It’s very interesting. Maybe sometimes we wonder: “Who are we who come to church to be with one another in the presence of God?” 

The answer is obviously a complex one. However the opening words of the Gospel for this evening’s Mass give us one very deep and reassuring answer to the question: “Who are we really, we Christians, we Catholics?” St. John the Evangelist writes:“Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart...

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Archbishop Bohan's Chrism Mass Homily

Last updated on March 27, 2012

When I was a young boy, I knew that when my mother said something to me twice, it was important.  `Danny, you need to be home in time for supper today. Do you understand? You need to be home in time for supper.” I knew I needed to pay attention. Today in the Liturgy of the Word for the Chrism Mass, God says something to us twice. Once in the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah and again, from the lips of Jesus in the Gospel:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.

Mes chères frères et soeurs, c’est rare qu’on trouve une telle répétition dans les lectures d’une Messe. Alors, il nous faut écouter.  Dieu nous parle sérieusement ici.

Jesus has come to his home town of Nazareth. He had just been baptized...

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Archbishop Bohan: "Share Lent 2012"

Last updated on May 18, 2012
Archbishop Bohan: "Share Lent 2012"

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing to ask for your generous support for our upcoming Share Lent Collection on the weekend of March 24th and 25th.  The Share Lent collection is our principal collection for the work of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and is a compassionate expression of the entire Canadian Church for the most vulnerable people of the world.

“Help a Just World Take Root” is this year’s theme.  What does this mean in the context of famine in the Horn of Africa, flooding in Pakistan and the Philippines and the devastating earthquake in Haiti?  For those suffering the immediate impacts of these disasters, it means the literal need to regain the capacity to grow food for their family and neighbours. ...

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Homily for Father Ray Carignan's Funeral

Last updated on February 7, 2012
Mes chers amis je vous remercie très sincèrement de votre présence ici aujourd’hui. My dear friends, I thank you for coming here today to show your respect and affection for Fr. Raymond and to offer to God our Father the Eucharistic sacrifice of Jesus, our Saviour, so that he may be purified to enter the eternal home that our Lord Jesus Christ has prepared for him.  Nous exprimons de nos cœurs, nos sympathies à Aline et Nicole, les sœurs du Père Raymond et aussi aux membres nombreux de sa famille dans cette perte imprévue et triste. We hope that you find in them some measure of consolation.

 When death comes unexpectedly and tragically to us, we are always filled with questions. Why does this happen? What takes place for our loved ones when they die? What takes place for us when we die? St. Paul wrote to the fledgling Church in Corinth in the early years of Christianity to deal with these questions that arise asking what happens when people die, questions not a whole lot...

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