On October 14, 2016 Donald Bolen was installed as Archbishop of the Regina Archdiocese.
It was a coming home for the popular priest who was born in Gravelbourg in the Archdiocese of Regina, obtained his early and some post secondary education at Campion College, University of Regina, ordained priest October 12, 1991, spent seven years in Rome, a short stint as Regina Archdiocese Vicar General prior to his March 10, 2010 appointment as Bishop of Saskatoon where he served until appointed Archbishop of Regina by Pope Francis, July 11, 2016.
The installation ceremony in Holy Rosary Cathedral was full of music and colour with 15 bishops and Archbishops, including Canada’s Papal Nuncio Most Reverend Luigi Bonazzi, priests from Regina and Saskatoon and some visitors from Rome. It was ecumenical with greetings prior to mass from Very Reverend Lorne Crozon, on behalf of the clergy, Sister Theresa Frey O.B.V.M, Chair of the Sisters Association of the Regina Archdiocese (SARA), Mrs. Carol Schimnosky of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council representing the laity, a smudging ceremony and honour song performed by Robert Bellegarde, Jason Agecoutay and Jeramie Agecoutay-Bellegarde, followed by Ecumenical greetings from Very Reverend Mike Sinclair Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle and Buddhist Monk Reverend Uttam Barua bringing inter-faith greetings. The choir too was ecumenical with participants from Holy Rosary and St. Paul Cathedrals. Valerie Hall was the organist, Dr. Dominic Gregorio directed the choir and Mathew Grunert was the trumpeter.
The Cathedral was filled to capacity with extra chairs at the rear and an overflow crowd watching streaming video on a screen in the Cathedral’s downstairs hall. Reverend Barry Anwender assisted by Angela Paz and Marcus Vey set up his five-camera streaming video service which allowed parishioners at several Regina and rural churches to watch the ceremony live.
The installation ceremony began with Regina Archdiocesan Chancellor Very Reverend James Owolagba holding high then reading the scroll from Pope Francis announcing Bolen’s appointment as Archbishop of Regina. When he finished the congregation erupted in thunderous applause.
Two of Bolen’s sisters, Mrs. Jeannette Moquin and Mrs. Judy Corkery read the first two readings, Moquin in French, Corkery in English. The reading of the petitions reflected somewhat the ethnic make up of the Archdiocese with petitions read in English, French, Polish, German, Cree, Filipino and Vietnamese.
Archbishop Bolen in his homily welcomed all the guests and told a short story of what occurred two nights earlier at a farewell mass in Saskatoon. He expressed again “that there was not a little sadness there” but he told of how Crozon told the Saskatoon people “we’re not stealing your bishop we’re just taking him back,” which prompted laughter and a round of sustained applause. “While it was hard to leave Saskatoon,” said Bolen, “It is very good to be home.”
He focused his homily on the second reading that began the mass, St. Paul to the Ephesians. “What Paul prays for and I pray for all of us as we set out on this journey together, that we might come to know the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love revealed in Christ.” He also gave some hint of the direction he intends to bring the Archdiocese. “That is that we might come to know the dimensions of God, of God’s way with us, the dimensions of God’s mercy. We could strive for something more modest and indeed we will as we walk day by day. But hopefully ours with that larger vision in mind, one thing that it asks of us is that our vision of God is vast enough to speak the Gospel in our world in such a way that it truly comes alive in the hearts of our sisters and brothers and that asks something new of us today.”
The newly installed Archbishop at communion stood in front of the pews where sat the ecumenical guests. Unable to accept communion each came forward, Christians with their arms crossed in front, received the Archbishop’s blessing. With the Buddhist Monk, Bolen clasped his hands around the clasped hands of the Monk and each bowed their heads to the other. He then went downstairs to the overflow crowd accompanied by two priests and distributed communion there in a much appreciated gesture of inclusion.
At the end of mass, Papal Nuncio Luigi Bonazzi, gave a brief address, congratulating Bolen and thanked Crozon for his eight months service as Diocesan Administrator which prompted applause.
A reception followed, held in the gymnasium of Holy Rosary Elementary School just behind the Cathedral.