By Frank Flegel

St. Mary’s Church rectory in east Regina has a new tenant on the second floor. Archbishop Donald Bolen was looking for more modest quarters when St. Mary’s Pastor, Reverend Ed Hengen, offered the vacant second floor of his rectory. “I had seven rooms up there,” said Hengen. They would need some changes, but he offered the space to the Archbishop.

Director of Pastoral Services, Robert Kowalchuk, who has several trade skills, offered to oversee the project and asked his Resurrection Parish fellow Knights of Columbus to help. “The Resurrection Parish Knights have traditionally, in recent years, offered their services to the Archbishop whether it’s hosting an event for priests or Chancery office staff at the Archbishop’s home,” said Kowalchuk, “and they stepped up to the plate again.” The two bathrooms on the second floor required some upgrading, there was no kitchen, and doors had to be installed in a couple of locations to make the space private. A new floor was installed, cupboards and storage space had to be built and installed. The space had to be re-configured to provide an office, a dining area and a bedroom for the Archbishop. A second space was created as a guest room which can be used, for example, when the Papal Nuncio visits from November 26 to 28, 2017. He will be here for the Pallium Mass on November 27 and will meet with diocesan staff on November 28.

The renovation work began in August. “We contacted several firms who donated products, like Creative Kitchens who donated materials and helped convert one of the rooms into a kitchenette,” said Kowalchuk. The kitchenette has a toaster oven, a small refrigerator and a coffee maker, but the Archbishop and Father Hengen will share the rectory’s main floor kitchen for any serious cooking.

All the labour was volunteer and much of the supplies and equipment was donated. There was virtually no cost to the chancery. Archbishop Bolen moved in September 1.

The former Archbishop’s residence, a two-story house in Gardiner Park, will not be sold and currently serves as a residence for one priest and one seminarian.

Kowalchuk said that Bishop Don wanted to live in more modest surroundings, and St. Mary’s Church rectory was a good fit. St. Mary’s will profit from the upgraded space as the property value has increased and the church will receive a steady stream of extra income from the rent the Archbishop pays, so it is a win-win situation.

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