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Bishop Donald Bolen

Official Articles and Letters (issued during Bishop Bolen's tenure):Bishop Bolen

Saskatoon's seventh bishop, Most Rev. Donald Bolen, was appointed Archbishop of Regina by Pope Francis on July 11, 2016 and installed on Oct. 14, 2016.

During his time in Saskatoon, he issued a number of messages and statements:

May 13, 2012 Cathedral Blessing Homily. Audio Only. Listen here. (20 Mintues).

  • March 23, 2012Letter from the four Catholic bishops of Saskatchewan about CIDA cutting funding to Development and PeaceEnglish
  • March 10, 2012Pastoral Letter in support of Share Lent.English,French
  • November, 2011A PastoralLetter on the Liturgy. (Introduction of the New Roman Missal)
  • November, 2011A PastoralLetter on the Liturgy. (Introduction of the New Roman Missal)
  • May, 2011Saskatchewan Bishop's Messagefor World Catholic Education Week
  • May, 2011Memo aboutPastoral Appointments
  • May, 2011Giving an account of hope" 1 Peter 3:15: Anupdatedversion of thePastoral Letterissued in the spring 2011 issue of TheDiocesan Newsletter. Rendre compte de l'espérance qui est en nous -Lettre pastorale de Pâquesde Monseigneur Donald Bolen.
  • January 27, 2011Marriage Commissioner Decision - Bishop Don Bolen was among those concerned about the implications of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruling in January 2011 which stated that provincial marriage commissioners cannot refuse to perform a wedding ceremony for same-sex couples. Bishop Bolen would encourage all to read a recent pastoral letter by Archbishop Daniel Bohan of Reginaaddressing the issue
  • December 2010Christmas and New Year Greetings 2010.English
  • April 30, 2010English,French Pastoral Letter: - The tragedy of sexual abuse in the Church.
About our former bishop, Most Rev. Donald Bolen
Donald Joseph Bolen - Seventh Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon 2010-2016
Donald Bolen was born February 7, 1961 in Gravelbourg, the youngest child and only son of Joseph and Rose Bolen. He was raised on a nearby farm, along with his three older sister. 
He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Charles Halpin Oct. 12, 1991 in Regina, and served at a number of parishes in the Archdiocese of Regina over the years, as well as being on the department of religious studies faculty at Campion College. His studies and academic degrees include BA Honours in Religious Studies at the University of Regina, BTh in Theology as well as a Masters and Licentiate in Theology a at Saint Paul University, Ottawa, and intermittent work towards his doctorate in theology at the University of Oxford, UK.
With the permission of Archbishop Peter Mallon, Bolen spent seven years (2001-2008) working at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome. As part of that position he staffed 
Anglican-Roman Catholic and Methodist-Roman Catholic relations and prepared texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. He also 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. 
Msgr. Bolen returned to Regina in 2009, serving as Vicar General for the Archdiocese and chair of the Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission. He was also named to the Nash Chair in Religion at Campion College at the University of Regina.
In December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Donald Bolen as the seventh bishop of Saskatoon. His episcopal ordination was held on the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 2010 at St. Patrick's Church in Saskatoon.

From 2011-2016, Bishop Bolen served on the CCCB Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, including terms as chair and co-chair. Since 2012 he has also been a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Rome), a member of the International Consultation Between the World Evangelical Alliance and the Catholic Church, co-chair of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, and co-chair of the Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Catholic Church.
Most Rev. Donald Bolen’s tenure as bishop of Saskatoon (2010-2016) included a multitude of initiatives and projects. He came into the diocese just as construction was beginning on a new diocesan Cathedral and Catholic Pastoral Centre, after years of planning and fundraising under the leadership of outgoing Saskatoon Bishop Albert LeGatt. 
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process to address the painful legacy of the Indian Residential School System and the June 2012 national event that was held in Saskatoon also impacted Bolen’s tenure as bishop.
The diocese established a new consultative body, the Diocesan Council for Truth and Reconciliation under Bolen's leadership. The DCTR includes Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal representatives. Initiatives of the DCTR have included a pastoral letter and ecumenical event about the issue of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, and the establishment of a day of prayer for reconciliation and healing in the diocese and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. In 2016 a treaty elder series inviting Indigenous elders to come to parishes and talk about their spiritual traditions was also initiated.
The diocese’s consultative structure was revised and refined under Bishop Bolen’s leadership, bringing new energy, direction and discernment to groups such as the Priests Council and the Diocesan Pastoral Council. A new salary grid was introduced for parish and ministry employees in the diocese, and the work of the personnel committee now includes annual meetings with priests of the diocese and the invitation for feedback from parish councils. 
Dialogue was an ongoing cornerstone of Bolen’s time as bishop, including dialogue with other Christians, with members of other faith traditions, and with the culture at large. Events during his tenure included public inter-faith forums about issues such as faith in the public sphere or peace and terrorism, a public discussion on compassion between the Catholic bishop and a Tibetan Buddhist, and a dialogue on the music of Leonard Cohen by Bishop Bolen and Rabbi Claudio Jodorkovsy. A local Evangelical-Catholic dialogue initiated by Bolen has produced a joint statement and nurtured many discussions and friendships, while an Ecumenical Formation Program was established through the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism.
Justice and Peace was an ongoing priority for Bolen, both in the diocese and on the national stage, where he served as chair of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). 
After the retirement of long-time volunteer diocesan coordinator of Justice and Peace Tony Haynes, as well as a process of restructuring and strategic planning, a full-time coordinator was hired for the diocesan Office of Justice and Peace under Bolen's leadership. Donations – first from the late Rev. Paul Donlevy and family and then from Holy Spirit parish – also led to hiring a half-time staff person to coordinate a new diocesan Office of Migration, created to oversee issues around refugee sponsorship. Persecution of Christians around the world, the scourge of human trafficking, the need to care for the environment, opposing the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia, protecting conscience rights, and promoting the need for palliative care, are among issues addressed in the diocese and beyond between 2010-2016.
Other milestones of Bolen's tenure included the return of diocesan missionaries from Brazil (October 2014), a re-envisioned Christian Initiation and Catechetics office, the renewal of the diocesan Covenant of Care and sexual abuse policies, the establishment of a Justice and Outreach Year of Formation (JOY) program in 2016, and a discernment about ordaining men to the permanent diaconate in the diocese of Saskatoon.
After six years as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Pope Francis appointed Most Rev. Donald Bolen as Archbishop of Regina, with an installation celebration held October 14, 2016.

Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms for Most Rev. Donald Bolen, Bishop of Saskatoon (2010-2016) 

At the centre of the Coat of Arms is the open word of God. 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 shepherd’s crook – a bishop’s staff or “crosier”– represents the apostolic calling to be a good shepherd, to feed the sheep, to take care of the lambs (Jn.10; Jn. 21).

The sword is the traditional symbol of St. Paul, who is the patron of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.

The wheat sheaf, against the blue backdrop, speaks in the first instance of the Saskatchewan prairies under vast sheltering skies. 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.

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 which symbolizes one of four miracles attributed to the Jesuit saint during a missionary voyage to Malacca in 1546. As the wheat symbolizes Eucharist, the shell symbolizes Baptism; together they point to the sacramental life of the Church, but also to ecumenical efforts to come to a shared sacramental life.

The hat with six tassels on either side and the cross are emblematic of the hierarchical status of the episcopal office, and are present on every Roman Catholic bishop’s coat of arms. The Jerusalem Cross, depicted here, is often associated with the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. As with every cross it symbolizes the paschal mystery, but the specific associations with the Jerusalem Cross evoke in a particular way the Holy Sepulchre, the place where the crucified Lord was buried, and where God raised him from the dead.

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