Pope Francis named Bishop Donald J. Bolen of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan as Archbishop of Regina, Saskatchewan, July 11. Archbishop Bolen is pictured in a 2015 photo. CNS photo/Diocese of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Pope Francis names Saskatoon's Bolen as Regina's new archbishop

By 
  • July 11, 2016

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has named Bishop Donald Bolen of Saskatoon, Sask., as the new archbishop of Regina.

Archbishop Bolen's appointment was announced July 11 at the Vatican. He succeeds Archbishop Daniel Bohan, who died in January.

Archbishop Bolen is known nationally and internationally for his work promoting Christian unity. From 2001 to 2008 he worked at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the Vatican, before returning to Regina in 2009. Since his return, he has served as a bishop member of the Christian unity council and as co-chair of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission. Since 2013 he has served as co-chair of the Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church.

Speaking of his new appointment, Archbishop Bolen, who was ordained a priest in Regina and served as archdiocesan vicar general and chair of the archdiocesan ecumenical commission, said: "To be moved from the Diocese of Saskatoon is painful, because it has been such a grace-filled experience to live and to serve here as bishop, but, at the same time, to move to the Archdiocese of Regina is to go home. I am profoundly grateful to remain in my home province."

Archbishop Bolen was born in 1961 in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, and raised on a nearby farm. He was ordained a priest in 1991 in Regina and served at a number of parishes in the archdiocese over the years, as well as being on the department of religious studies faculty at Campion College.

He was named bishop of Saskatoon in December 2009 and was consecrated bishop the following March.

His time as bishop has included a multitude of diocesan initiatives and projects.

In June, he spent 36 hours living on the streets to raise funds for Sanctum Care Group, which provides hospice and transitional care for homeless people and individuals struggling with HIV.

He began work in the diocese just as construction was beginning on a new cathedral and Catholic pastoral center, after years of planning and fundraising. The new Cathedral of the Holy Family and pastoral center have become a hub of ministry and outreach.

"When we opened the cathedral we expressed the hope that it would be a place of welcome, but also a place of healing and reconciliation – and I think it has become just that," he said.

Archbishop Bolen pointed to a memorial at the cathedral earlier this year "that brought 2,400 students together for an event that directly addressed the horrors of the Holocaust and took steps of reconciliation between Christians and Jews." He also cited the recent installation of a treaty plaque at the cathedral, "demonstrating how important it is that we walk together with indigenous peoples, genuinely and humbly seeking reconciliation and healing."

He has fostered dialogue on many fronts and has made justice and peace a priority, including serving as chairman of the Canadian bishops' justice and peace commission.

Archbishop Bolen will continue to serve as apostolic administrator in Saskatoon until his installation as archbishop of Regina this fall; the exact date has not yet been set.

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