Archbishop’s Easter Message • 2024

I am writing this note on Holy Thursday, as we are about to enter into the holiest days of the Church year: the celebration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. We do so at a time when there is much suffering and insecurity in the world. The wars in Ukraine and the Middle East are so brutalizing. The deep polarization in our society is increasingly crippling. The struggle for a sense of belonging and community, coupled with internal challenges of all sorts, is the experience of so many, including so many young people today. We bring all of those struggles with us as we enter into Good Friday and Easter liturgies.

In times of great challenge, it is important to get our bearings, to remember who we are, who God is, and to see a bigger picture of what is happening in our day and in our history. Jesus’ ministry was centred on God’s great love for us human beings, and not only when we had our acts together. In Jesus, God embraces us with our struggles, the failures of our past, our doubts and insecurities, and calls us to trust in a forgiving love that can set us free. His death was a complete giving of self, revealing a boundless love beyond our imagining. From the cross, the Lord forgave those who were putting him to death, looked after his mother and disciples, and promised the repentant thief that he too would be welcomed into the Kingdom – surely a gesture that can inspire hope for all of us.

Jesus’ resurrection is God’s definitive word to a wounded and broken humanity. God’s love absorbs it all, in order to embrace us all. Not even the rejection and crucifixion of the Word who created all things is enough to overturn God’s love. There is a hope that rises from the tomb which is greater than any discouragement or despair we can feel. There is a life that rises from the tomb which can restore our weariness and alienation. There is a path which opens up from the death and resurrection which offers hope to our world, and allows us to be witnesses and instruments of a love that the world and its people so desperately need.

This Easter, I would encourage you to take some time to pray with the Resurrection appearances of Jesus: as he appears to Mary Magdalene and asks her to share the news that he has risen from the dead; as he comes to the community and then to Thomas, who struggles to believe; as he walks alongside the two despairing disciples on the road to Emmaus and reawakens their hope; and as he comes to Peter, who is out fishing, just as he was when they first met, calling forth his love, and inviting him once more to follow. Take some time to ponder those encounters, and if you can, even for just a few minutes, put yourself in the shoes of those disciples who encountered the Risen Lord; and feel anew something of the depth of joy, forgiveness and life that Jesus wishes to bestow upon each and every one of us.

Grace and peace in the Risen Lord!

✠Donald J. Bolen
Archbishop of Regina

Archbishop Don’s 2023 Christmas Message

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, dear friends, dear parishioners of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Regina:

We live in incredibly challenging times, when deep-founded hope is elusive. These days when we watch the news, with accounts of war and images of human suffering and brokenness, and when we see chaos in approaching solutions, it is so easy to ask where God is to be found in the midst of it all. By contrast, we go into stores or listen to the radio, and see bright shiny decorations and hear jingly and jolly Christmas songs which tell us that we should be happy, and that we should shop for beautiful gifts. There is nothing wrong with that per se, and some of it is outright good, joyful and beautiful. But it doesn’t take us to the heart of what we are celebrating with the Incarnation, the birth of the Christ child.

Christmas isn’t intended to be a happy but short-lived little escape from the difficulties of our lives. Nor is it meant to uproot us from the here and now and put us mystically into a place where God dwells in bliss untouched by human suffering. In the words of one Christian writer, “The incarnation does not provide us with a ladder by which to escape from the ambiguities of life and scale the heights of heaven. Rather, it enables us to burrow deep into the heart of planet earth and find it shimmering with divinity” (Avery Dulles).

Christmas has the possibility to fill us with a deep joy because it brings the assurance that God is with us, where we dwell. It promises, in a way that is more fully grasped with the Resurrection and Pentecost, that God desires to be with us in the here and now, in a life-giving relationship which informs every part of our lives. A relationship with God doesn’t mean your life is going to be always happy and easy. The way that Jesus shows us passes through the cross, the complete giving of self in response to the brokenness of the world. But Christ’s coming among us in the Incarnation, his rising from the dead, the sending of the Holy Spirit, all speak of God’s commitment to be with us at every moment of our lives. Christ’s embracing of humanity is God’s promise of a relationship with us always. And it is an invitation for us to fully embrace our humanity and our place in the world with courage, perseverance, and trust.

During the Advent and Christmas seasons, we also ponder Mary, who courageously welcomes what God asks of her in carrying and giving birth to the Christ child. A few days ago a friend sent me an extraordinary poem that I had never read, called The Annunciation, by Denise Levertov. Speaking of what God asks of Mary, she writes:

  • to bear in her womb infinite weight and lightness;
  • to carry in hidden, finite inwardness, nine months of eternity;
  • to contain in slender vase of being, the sum of power

– in narrow flesh, the sum of light.

  • Then bring to birth, push out into air, a man-child needing, like any other, milk and love

– but who was God.

Friends, as you prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s birth, and through this Christmas season, I encourage you to take some quiet time to feel God’s presence, to ponder this mystery of God’s desire to draw near to us, to take some time to speak with God in your heart, and to open yourself anew to the mystery of encountering a God who loves us and takes flesh to be where we are. May that prayer and encounter and celebration allow you to continue to live in this broken world of ours with a deep hope. For we are not alone, either as individuals or as human race, in this life. Emmanuel, God with us, is ever at our side, not as an idea, not as words on a page but as a relationship to be lived.

Merry Christmas to each and all of you!


Easter Message from Bishop Don

Greetings and Happy Easter to you all.

The refrain that resonates for us today is very simple: “Christ has Risen from the dead!” It is a simple phrase but it echoes in the heart of darkness, and carries a world of hope with it.

A friend recently mentioned to me a powerful and puzzling line from J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Lord of the Rings, where Galadriel is speaking with Frodo, and speaks of how she and her husband “together through ages of the world …have fought the long defeat.” In a trilogy which has deeply Christian underpinnings and a message of hope, it seems a dark depiction of life: fighting a long defeat.

If this Easter finds you at a time when life is wonderful, the future is bright as a Summer’s day, and joy is all around, God bless you. Go out and sing your Easter alleluias with a light heart. The First Letter of Peter tells us, “always be ready to give an account of the hope that is within you.” That’s easier to do when all is well, at a time of success, health, and wholeness.

But if you are living through Holy Week and the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter with serious challenges in your life, well, the Scriptures invite you to feel right at home there. Whether it’s a broken hip, a struggling or wounded relationship, or a diagnosis of cancer; when we get thrown a curve ball that leaves us feeling bewildered; when the institutions and communities we trust fail us or fail others; when it’s rejection where a welcome was expected; when our high ideals come up against life’s disappointments; when we struggle with depression and darkness; when we experience ‘life at its dirty work’ to borrow a phrase from Graham Greene; when you feel like you are fighting a long defeat: then, then being able to locate hope is altogether more needed, and more challenging.

At such times, we can feel crushed. But we also have an entry point into the death and resurrection of Jesus that is closer to the experience of the disciples, closer to the experience of Jesus himself. The Lord was there on Good Friday. And in the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection, we see the Lord precisely entering into the darkness that the disciples are experiencing, and by his very presence, alive, opening a horizon of hope that they could not have imagined.

I was thinking about a word we sometimes use as an adjective – ‘Godforsaken’. When I was working in Italy I saw a film called “Christ stopped at Eboli”. Eboli, south of Naples, is part way down the Italian coast, and south of it, at least as the film described it, was a “Godforsaken place.” Christ didn’t make it that far. Well, the resurrection account suggests otherwise. That there is no place of darkness that the Risen Lord can’t reach. Because the Resurrection happens in the midst of great evil and darkness and desolation, it suggests that there is no place in the human condition that is ultimately Godforsaken. That’s what we proclaim when in the creed we say that after his death on the cross, Christ descended into hell, to bring light to the place which by definition was Godforsaken.

A vital part of Christian life is learning to view and interpret our lives, especially our most difficult experiences, through a paschal lens. Lying on the ground after falling and breaking my hip, I was thinking “whoa, I’ve never felt pain like this…” And I realized that many people experience even worse pain, or pain that lasts a lot longer than what I experienced. I don’t want to be glib about this. When you are suffering, it’s hard to think of much else. But when the space opens up to ponder our lives, in their complexity and yes, in their brokenness, I invite and encourage you to look at central mysteries of our faith precisely in relationship to your life, our communal lives. The Christian message is this: Christ comes into the human condition, becomes incarnate, embraces it fully. After a life of living deeply, of joy, of bringing life to others, of love, of challenging injustice and walking with those who are wounded, he is crushed, and out of love, suffers a humiliating cruel death. And there, there God pronounces that life prevails, that love conquers, that death is not the last word. There, in the paschal mystery, we see most clearly the face of God, and we see most clearly the pattern by which God wishes to save us.

Christian hope is located precisely there. And it is for each of us, through the eyes of faith, to learn to interpret our lives in light of what God reveals there. God walks with us in the human condition, in all its beauty and its brokenness. God walks with us when we ourselves experience suffering, darkness, abandonment and ultimately death. Sometimes our life can feel, in Tolkien’s words, like fighting the long defeat, but Tolkien knew that this was not the whole picture, not the last word. God does not leave us in the tomb; we were not born, we do not live, ultimately to remain in the tomb. On Easter morning, the tomb is empty, Christ lives. And you and I, living with that hope, with that lens of what God is doing, are set free, in joy, free to live and love as Jesus did, knowing that his Risen presence is with us always.

Happy Easter, everybody!

✠Donald Bolen, Archbishop of Regina

Archbishop Don Bolen’s Share Lent Letter 2023

Dear friends in Christ,

Blessings to you on your Lenten journey! In the Gospels we have heard in recent Sundays, wesee how Jesus does not dwell among the powerful, the proud, or those in high places, but instead chooses to be among the excluded, the voiceless, the sick, and the suffering. Jesus chose to include those on the margins of society. He drinks with the Samaritan woman, forgives and heals the man born blind, and shares his ministry with those who deny him. We are faced with many opportunities to choose the path of Christ and walk on the margins and love as he loves.

Development and Peace Caritas Canada has been choosing to accompany those on the margins for 55 years. Our partners remind us to stand with those suffering from systemic poverty, environmental degradation, and indifference.

This year, for Solidarity Sunday, we are invited to support a new campaign, Create Hope: Stand for the Land. At the heart of this campaign is a call from the Prophet Micah, “to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before our God.”

This Lent, I heartily encourage you to learn more about the needs, experiences, and success of some of our partners by reading materials in your parishes, or by going to the website. When you support Development and Peace, these people become your partners as well. Carry these stories in your heart, and pray for our partners and the life-saving work they do.

In Colombia, the ACA (Association Campesina de Antioquia) empowers everyday people to exercise their rights and protect their land. They promote ecological sustainability and holistic public policy by utilizing the concept of buen vivir (living well), demonstrating the unique beauty and strength of their Indigenous way of life and sharing this with others.

In Honduras, ERIC (Equipo de Reflexión y Comunicatión), works to document land and human rights abuses. They then help to defend those affected, with legal counsel. They broadcast information on public radio to increase awareness about human rights violations, thus promoting justice and freedom of expression.

Development and Peace Caritas Canada has 66 active partners in 40 countries, affecting change for thousands of people. Today I am encouraging you to support their life-saving missions by making a donation to the Share Lent campaign. You can participate at your local parish through donation envelopes or online at Also consider becoming a monthly donor. If you sign up before Pentecost (May 28th) your donation will be matched by a generous private donor for the first year of giving. This is the most powerful and direct means of supporting the many good causes at work around the world.

“You are the light of the world…. let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your God the Creator in heaven.” – Mathew 5:14-16

May God bless you as you continue your Lenten journey,

+ Don Bolen


“What does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”

-Micah 6:8

Archbishop Don’s Christmas Message

Each year in preparing to celebrate the Lord’s birth, one of the greatest sources of inspiration comes from Advent and Christmas carols, so many of which have rich yet simple imagery to recount the extraordinary event of God, creator of all things, choosing to take flesh as one of us. Christmas carols are such a powerful way of wrapping our minds around the mystery of the Incarnation, often contrasting the creative and saving power of God with the humbleness of the nature, surroundings and circumstances of Jesus’ birth. The heart of the nativity is so beautifully expressed in carols such as In the Bleak MidWinter, which began not as a carol but as a poem by Christina Rosetti.

The second verse begins by acknowledging the glory of God:

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him Nor earth sustain,
Heaven and earth shall flee away When He comes to reign.
But then it turns to the reality of the Incarnation:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed The Lord God Almighty — Jesus Christ.

In the third verse, that contrast between the all-powerful and the poverty of his birth is beautifully set forth:

Enough for Him, whom cherubim Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom Angels Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

The carol goes on to draw us in, just as the Incarnation does. We are part of the story, and are invited in, in an intimate way, to ask what we can bring the Christ child:

What can I give Him, Poor as I am? —
If I were a Shepherd I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part, —
Yet what I can I give Him, — Give my heart.

This is what we celebrate at Christmas. A Creator who chooses the most extraordinary way to reveal a boundless love to his creation. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins uses a beautiful expression to speak of the Incarnation. He speaks of “God’s infinity dwindled to infancy,” who Mary welcomes “in womb and breast, birth, milk, and all the rest.” Infinity dwindled to infancy is what the Gospels speak of when they tell us of the Incarnate Word “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).

And this is God’s way of engaging with a wounded and struggling world. On his recent visit to Kazakhstan, Pope Francis reminded his hearers of God’s “response to the spread of evil in the world: he gave us Jesus, who drew near to us in a way we could never have imagined.”

In this Christmas season, we are invited to immerse ourselves in the joy and life that come from God’s drawing near, from God’s way of drawing near to us. We are invited to enter into the story, too. When God takes on human flesh, it is to our human home that God comes. The Incarnation tells us that God’s entry point into the world is not fundamentally through an exercise of power, though that is there – it is there in Creation, it is there at the Resurrection, it is there at Pentecost; but most fundamentally God’s entry point is revealed in the way he chose to come among us in the flesh, in the way he lived, in the way he died: in complete vulnerability, in poverty, entrusted to the Father, entrusted to us human beings.

And of course the challenge that comes with all of this is expressed concisely by Jesus when he says to his disciples, and to us, “go and do likewise.” During his visit to Canada, Pope Francis commented, “One cannot proclaim God in a way contrary to God himself. And yet, how many times has this happened in history! While God presents himself simply and quietly, we always have the temptation to impose him, and to impose ourselves in his name. It is the worldly temptation to make him come down from the cross and show himself with power…. Brothers and sisters, in the name of Jesus, may this never happen again in the Church.”

This Christmas let us allow the tenderness and mercy of God to soften our hearts, to touch our souls, so that we might dare to walk a little more as Jesus walked, to come into the lives of others as he came into ours. In humility, in vulnerability, exercising authority by placing ourselves at the service of others, honouring the dignity of each and every person we meet, knowing how deeply loved by God that each one of us is. For God has made a home with us, and walks with us in the tangle and turbulence of our lives.

Christ is born, Christ dwells with us. Come let us adore him!

Merry Christmas!

Archbishop’s 2022 Easter Message

Easter Message 2022

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ of the Archdiocese of Regina, and all who are reading or viewing this little Easter message, warm greetings in the Risen Lord.

As I am recording this, we are preparing for the great celebrations of the Triduum, beginning with Holy Thursday, and a snowstorm is raging outside my office windows. In some places on the prairies they are suggesting it could be the worst snowstorm in decades. By the time you are watching or reading this, you will know! In any case, a great storm seems a fitting metaphor for what we have been living these past weeks, months, even years. For many, because of life torn asunder by war, or the experience and legacy of abuse, or the effects of a pandemic that won’t go away, or other struggles without and within, many people are feeling like they – like we – are caught in a vicious storm, in our world or within ourselves.

As a community of faith, we have been invited, through the Lenten season, to walk with Jesus through the tumultuous events culminating in his trial, passion and death. If we walk through those events not feeling their harshness, because we are focused on the inevitable ‘good end’ of the resurrection, we miss part of the meaning that the Lord wants to share with us. Despite prophecies, the resurrection happened where it was not expected, at a place of total darkness and despair. The cross was the eye of the storm, and the tomb where Jesus was buried was not a quiet resting place so much as it was the place of wreckage after the storm had unleashed its worst.

When we find ourselves in places of deep discouragement, depression, or devastation, standing amidst the wreckage of our world, our society, or our lives, well, then we find ourselves standing where Jesus stood. Only God can bring forth life from such a disaster, only the one who authors our being can ultimately bring healing, transformation, and wholeness. And in remembering the event of the resurrection, in our Easter celebrations, we are reminded and assured that this is precisely what God desires to do. Christ is Risen! And that translates into our experience as this: God does for us what only God can do – lets us breathe again, lets us know and experience joy again, lets a deep hope be planted within us. We are not alone in this life. It is not without purpose. And we and all creation are ultimately in the hands of one who is infinitely good, merciful, just, forgiving, tender, embracing.

Seeing our lives and our world with paschal eyes does not block out the pain or the sense of overwhelm, the sadness or frustration of life. But it remembers, it remembers…. There is a way out of this mess. God knows the way out. And we are invited to dare to trust that the God who raised Jesus from the dead will also walk with us in our times of deepest trouble, and when all seems lost.

You have probably heard the saying, “old age is not for whimps.” I think that saying could be expanded a little. There is nothing easy about childhood; or the teenage years; or the challenges of adulthood, parenthood, work, and communal life in a society marked by a deep brokenness. It is not easy at any age. When God authored human life, God did it in such a way as to draw us into God’s heart, and the life and death of resurrection of Jesus tells us much about God’s heart. There are experiences in life that are filled with blessing and wonder, with new life, with joy that takes our breath away. Experiences, we could say, that give us a glimpse of resurrection. There are also experiences which are harsh – even, we might say, crucifying. Worst still, we do it to each other. And we come before God with hands that are not only needy but also soiled, in need of a mercy as vast and wide as was revealed in the raising of Jesus from the dead. There is a paschal dimension to all of life, and God is at work in the midst of it, transforming us, inviting us into an ever deeper discipleship and ever deeper embrace of God’s way of loving and transforming the world into divine life.

The Lord plants one other word in our hearts through this paschal season, and it is this: The crucified and risen Lord asks that we learn, day by day, to walk with each other; in particular, to accompany others when they are in great need, struggling, feeling lost or overwhelmed. In faith we believe it to be true that we are not alone. But we need each other’s presence to grow, to believe, to trust. God wants to work through us, to express solidarity with others, to show compassion, through us. So as we celebrate the joy of the resurrection, let us rejoice at the depths of our being that God is for and with us in this life, and let us find ways to embody God’s life-giving presence to others in the rough and tumble of our days.

Christ is Risen! Happy Easter to each and all of you, and to all of your loved ones!

+Donald Bolen
Archbishop of Regina

Archbishop’s Bolen Homily for Christ the King, November 21st

Indigenous Peoples and the Church:
Walking Together Toward Healing and Reconciliation
Each week, beginning on Sunday, 21 November 2021, the Solemnity of Christ the King, the CCCB will release a video recording of a Bishop in Canada reflecting on the Gospel Reading for each Sunday of Advent. This year’s reflections were developed in view of the Indigenous Delegation which will be travelling to Rome to meet with Pope Francis from December 17 to 20, 2021. Each reflection is based one of the five essential stages of reconciliation: examen, confession, repentance, reparation (making amends), and reconciliation. Likewise, it is hoped these reflections will assist the faithful, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, in preparing for Pope Francis’ eventual apostolic journey to Canada

Statement of Apology by the Catholic Bishops of Canada to the Indigenous Peoples of This Land

We, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, gathered in Plenary this week, take this opportunity to affirm to you, the Indigenous Peoples of this land, that we acknowledge the suffering experienced in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. Many Catholic religious communities and dioceses participated in this system, which led to the suppression of Indigenous languages, culture and spirituality, failing to respect the rich history, traditions and wisdom of Indigenous Peoples. We acknowledge the grave abuses that were committed by some members of our Catholic community; physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and sexual. We also sorrowfully acknowledge the historical and ongoing trauma and the legacy of suffering and challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples that continue to this day. Along with those Catholic entities which were directly involved in the operation of the schools and which have already offered their own heartfelt apologies1, we2, the Catholic Bishops of Canada, express our profound remorse and apologize unequivocally.

We are fully committed to the process of healing and reconciliation. Together with the many pastoral initiatives already underway in dioceses across the country, and as a further tangible expression of this ongoing commitment, we are pledging to undertake fundraising in each region of the country to support initiatives discerned locally with Indigenous partners. Furthermore, we invite the Indigenous Peoples to journey with us into a new era of reconciliation, helping us in each of our dioceses across the country to prioritize initiatives of healing, to listen to the experience of Indigenous Peoples, especially to the survivors of Indian Residential Schools, and to educate our clergy, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful, on Indigenous cultures and spirituality. We commit ourselves to continue the work of providing documentation or records that will assist in the memorialization of those buried in unmarked graves.

Having heard the requests to engage Pope Francis in this reconciliation process, a delegation of Indigenous survivors, Elders/knowledge keepers, and youth will meet with the Holy Father in Rome in December 2021. Pope Francis will encounter and listen to the Indigenous participants, so as to discern how he can support our common desire to renew relationships and walk together along the path of hope in the coming years. We pledge to work with the Holy See and our Indigenous partners
on the possibility of a pastoral visit by the Pope to Canada as part of this healing journey.

We commit ourselves to continue accompanying you, the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples of this land. Standing in respect of your resiliency, strength and wisdom, we look forward to listening to and learning from you as we walk in solidarity.

24 September 2021

Statement in French and English available at this link.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The Canadian government proclaimed September 30th as a new national statutory holiday, a National day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour survivors, their families, and communities. The Catholic Church has a significant role and responsibility for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. With the recent confirmations of unmarked graves, this day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the history of residential schools, grow in our understanding towards a commitment to true healing and reconciliation

We encourage everyone to wear orange shirts to show wâhkôhtowin – kinship – with Indigenous communities, especially those still struggling with the intergenerational effects of residential schools. Orange Shirt Day, as September 30th was previously known, is part of a larger movement in the country to provide opportunity to unite in a spirit of reconciliation and hope for future generations. The movement is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in B.C. in 2013, emerging out of the account of a young girl named Phyllis Webstad who had her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school.

“The annual Orange Shirt day on September 30th opens the door to global conversation on all aspects of Residential Schools. It is an opportunity to create meaningful discussion about the effects of Residential Schools and the legacy they have left behind. A discussion all Canadians can tune into and create bridges with each other for reconciliation. A day for survivors to be reaffirmed that they matter, and so do those that have been affected. Every Child Matters, even if they are an adult, from now on.”

Regina Event at Holy Rosary Cathedral September 30th from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.

3pm: Communal Prayer Service in honor of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation; followed by an Indigenous led Rosary in Cree
Time for silent prayer for those who wish

4:30pm: Cultural experience and teaching through traditional Indigenous children dancing; steps towards healing and reconciliation.

Snack bags will be provided outside in the church parking lot. Please bring a lawn chair and warmer clothes as we hope to have the dancing outside in the parking lot area.


Statement from the Archdiocese of Regina regarding the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation Residential School Grave Site Near Kamloops, BC.

From Archbishop Donald Bolen:

We have all heard the devastating news that has come out of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation with the discovery of 215 children found buried at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in unmarked graves. There is an outflowing of emotion: outrage, dismay, profound grief. And we have questions, many unanswered questions that need to be asked in the coming days and weeks. This shared history of residential schools profoundly impacts residential school survivors, and indeed all Canadians.

Here in the Archdiocese of Regina, we have a responsibility to look anew to the four Catholic operated Indian Residential Schools within our diocese: the Marieval Indian Residential School on the Cowessess First Nation, the Lebret Indian Industrial Residential School on the White Calf First Nation, the Muscowequan Residential School near Lestock on the Muskowekwan First Nation, and the St. Philip’s Residential School near Kamsack on the Keeseekoose First Nation. There are cemeteries at these schools as well.

Recent reports have stated that there are at least 35 unmarked graves on the site of the Muscowequan Residential School. Indigenous communities here in Saskatchewan are speaking about the importance of using the same ground-penetrating radar technology to search for unmarked graves on other sites of former residential schools. The Archdiocese has a moral obligation to assist in that process, to support the Indigenous communities carrying out that work, and to walk alongside Indigenous brothers and sisters as we face anew the waves of suffering that were part of residential schools. In the coming days, we will seek out ways to enter into conversation with these communities while also continuing the dialogue that has already begun with others so that we can offer support and assistance in this work.

As an Archdiocese, we are striving to show our support and stand in solidarity with the Indigenous community. In the last few days, we have been connecting with and supporting the kohkums (grandmothers) and friends who have been deeply affected by this. Over the past four years, we have taken a number of steps to build right relationships and to walk together in truth and reconciliation. We are mindful, however, that events such as we have heard and experienced are extremely re-traumatizing to the survivors of residential schools. We acknowledge and understand that the road ahead is long and that there is much work to be done. We are in the process of consulting with Indigenous Elders and community leaders on how best to respond as a church. We will have more to communicate in the coming days in terms of direction, ideas, and ways that we can take concrete steps as a church towards healing and reconciliation. It is ever important to walk together in a spirit of humility and repentance and to honestly acknowledge the ways that we have caused deep pain to Indigenous communities.

We know that we cannot hide the past, and we cannot ask people who carry heavy burdens from the past to set those aside. We need to deal honestly with the past, to know as much as possible of what happened, to repent and ask forgiveness where appropriate, to walk together as much as we are able in the present, and to work together where possible in building a better future.

We are profoundly sorry for the hurt that actions and decisions of our church in the past have caused to Indigenous Peoples and in ways that we presently re-traumatize by our actions and inactions. We have heard and acknowledge that apologies are not an end point but a starting point, and are learning how to walk in solidarity. On this journey, we have embraced a simple saying that I learned from Indigenous friends years ago, “nothing about us without us.” As an Archdiocese, we invited Indigenous Elders and leaders to join us in establishing an Archdiocesan Truth and Reconciliation body. Since 2017 that group has helped us to identify what work can be done in parishes and schools, in formation, and in the joint pursuit of justice, and we have engaged in that work. We will continue these conversations in the coming days. A key part of what lies ahead will be working together in the field of education, so that more and more people will come to know the history of Indigenous Peoples, the wisdom of their traditions and ways, the suffering they endured, the legacy of colonization in today’s society, and ways of constructively walking together today.

May the Creator bring consolation to Indigenous Peoples, perseverance to us all in the pursuit of justice, a healing of relationships, and the grace of being able to walk together in our day.
Yours in Christ,

+ Don Bolen
Archbishop of Regina

Open letter to all those who have been wounded by the effects of clergy sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Regina

Good Friday, 2021

As I write to you today, I am mindful of the agony resulting from the scourge of clergy sexual abuse that was perpetrated on each and every victim. The parallels between the crucifixion of Jesus that we remember today are mirrored by the desecration of body, mind and soul of victims. We can never stop saying we are sorry, but that is not enough; we must take action to bring about change, transparency and accountability.

Over the last four years we have listened to, walked with, and began to really understand who our best teachers are: it is you, the victims. Thank you for showing us a way forward. Thank you for your courage in sharing the pain and torment that is your individual lived experience, your truth. Thank you for showing and reminding us that we must do better.

Early in my tenure as Archbishop, a core working group was established. The mandate of the Core Working Group, with direct input from victims, is to have an open transparent and accountable process to discern the overall direction of the archdiocese in responding to the legacy of clergy sexual abuse and in taking action to prevent further abuse from occurring. The Core Working Group works in the drafting, implementation and oversight of the Clergy Sexual Abuse Policy, and reviews this policy on a semi-annual basis with the possibility of updating it. They also review other policies which relate to clergy sexual abuse and its prevention. The Core Working Group oversees education and formation initiatives on the life-long consequences of clergy sexual abuse, on accompaniment of victims, and on the recognition and prevention of potentially abusive behaviour. None of these initiatives are undertaken without consultation from victims.

Thanks to significant input from victims, we have been able to look at where and how to move forward. Prior to Covid, prayer services were being held in every deanery and in many parishes. Every service had at least one victim as part of the writing process. The aim was to have at least one victim present at each prayer service. These services provided an opportunity for the larger church to hear your anguish.

In addition to the prayer services, education has become a key component in working toward transparency and accountability. Each educational event has presented the voice of a victim, allowing non-victims to hear in often painful ways the truth of how clergy sexual abuse affects people. Education will be an ongoing process and victims’ voices will not be silenced, but rather celebrated for their courage in bringing clergy sexual abuse into the light.

Each time we ask a victim to help us, we recognize that their wounds are reopened. Your sharing has helped us to ask the question, who is helping victims to heal their wounds, walking with them, accompanying them? The response was twofold: counselling and accompaniment.

Once again, we asked victims to help us. Even in your hurt and pain you have answered the call. Thanks to a recommendation from a victim, a trauma counsellor, trained in childhood sexual abuse, is available to work with all victims of clergy sexual abuse, with no charge to you and no need to report to the diocese. Again at the recommendation of a victim, we have begun a series of accompaniment workshops (the next is on April 11th) for people to learn how to walk with victims. The burden that each victim carries is heavy: it is time for others to help carry that burden that was so unfairly placed on you.

Finally, in January 2021, the Archdiocese took a bold step by creating a new position that is staffed by a victim, specifically to provide services and advocacy for victims as well as to work closely with my office and others to ensure we continue to move forward toward transparency and accountability. If you as a victim would have any questions, concerns or requests, or would like information about accompaniment workshops, prayer services or educational events, please feel free to contact Pamela Walsh at or the Delegate, Fr. Brad Fahlman, at

Two years ago, a way of the cross was prepared that gave voice to the experience of victims who have been nailed to the cross by abuse, presenting in the first person the voice of the victim. This Good Friday permit me to share with you this brief excerpt:

I too, want to be taken down from the cross of my pain. I do not want to be kept fastened to the cross as the church continues its lies, deceit, and cover-up. I want to be free from the clutches of despair and the torment to stop. How can I be freed from this cross? I can’t do it alone. I need support. I need a church that cares, risks being honest with itself and is accountable. Although my trust has been shattered and all hope lost, I want to be able to grieve for the parts of me that died the day the abuse started. I also grieve for those victims who remain nailed to their cross.

We do not want you to be nailed to the cross, but rather, we want you among us so we can accompany you and walk together. As the darkness is upon us today, let the light of Easter bring transformation as Christ rises from the tomb and love and life prevail over hate and death. Through that light, let us recognize ever more deeply that victims are not to be blamed but to be listened to, and let all people of the Archdiocese open their hearts and minds to a new way of walking with you in hope.

Sincerely yours,

✠Donald J. Bolen Archbishop of Regina

Easter Message from the Anglican, Lutheran, and Catholic bishops serving the Regina area,

April 1, 2021

Blessings to all in Saskatchewan. While many people in our province are preparing to celebrate our second Easter weekend under pandemic restrictions, as the Anglican, Lutheran, and Catholic bishops serving the Regina area, we want to offer a word of blessing, a word of caution, and a word of hope.

Christ is the Word of blessing who speaks to the world his promise that life will triumph over death. The whole world is suffering from a virus that has killed millions, paralyzed our society, and left an invisible toll in the form of mental and physical health issues, domestic abuse, and isolation from our families and friends. To this world of suffering, Christ joins his own suffering. Sharing in our struggles, he transforms even death into redemption.

As we celebrate this holiest time in our year, we are drawn to family and friends, but we must remain cautious. Now is not the time to expand our social interactions. We call upon all people in the Regina region to stay within their household bubbles over the next weeks. Find electronic ways to stay connected with friends and family, join in virtual worship, work at home if possible, do not travel within the province or elsewhere, limit shopping to the essentials, use curbside pickup or delivery wherever possible, wear a mask, sanitize your hands frequently, and seriously consider getting the vaccine when that becomes possible for you.

Over the past year, we have worked hard with public health officials and other faith leaders to develop effective protocols for faith communities. We support these and other measures to stop the spread of the virus in our population. We support efforts to reduce general movement within society and to limit the occasions for transmission. In our homes, workplaces, and churches, please follow all public health orders and recommendations.

To this, we offer a word of sincere thanks and gratitude to leaders, health workers, carers, counsellors, emergency responders, aid agencies, restaurateurs, teachers, delivery and personnel drivers, farmers and cleaners. Your combined sacrifice is deeply appreciated. Thank you.

And, we offer a word of hope. In the mystery of Easter, Christ turns death into life. We do not know how God is working through our pandemic suffering, but our faith proclaims that God will find good amongst the pain and will take the ashes of our long Lenten journey and turn them into new life. Christ dies on Good Friday, but he rises again on the third day. This is the mystery of Easter, which we live as people of faith.

May you all enjoy the blessings of Easter and stay healthy.

Bishop Bryan Bayda
Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon

Archbishop Donald Bolen
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina

Bishop Robert Hardwick Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle

Bishop Sid Haugen
Saskatchewan Synod,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Opinion: Churches working to help in COVID-19 fight, but need common sense from government

Opinion: Churches working to help in COVID-19 fight, but need common sense from government

by Brett Salkeld, PhD, theologian for the Archdiocese of Regina.

It is difficult for religious communities to push common sense while following safety protocols that are anything but, writes Brett Salkeld.

To any person who goes to church Sunday morning these days after shopping Saturday afternoon, the dramatic difference between the safety protocols observed at the grocery store or pharmacy and those observed at the church is jarring. There have been times when I have gotten home from the store thinking, if I get COVID, I’m pretty sure that trip was where I got it.

The feeling I have at church is precisely the opposite. We are so meticulously safe, so masked, so distanced, so disinfected that it seems highly unlikely anyone could contract the virus from attending the service while we adhere to best practices.

When I go to church, large sections of my small local parish are roped off. With only 30 people allowed to attend, we are able to appropriately distance in a fraction of our building. My heart breaks to watch our pastor having to turn people away at the door due to some confusion about sign-ups and capacity while there are dozens of empty pews sitting unused.

Last spring, after leading with a hard-cap policy as regards the number of people permitted in places of worship, the Government of Saskatchewan met with faith leaders and subsequently adopted a very reasonable policy based on percentage of building capacity. Small country churches that rarely accommodate more than 30 people on a given Sunday are not the same thing as large city congregations whose buildings often hold more than 1,000. Having the same limit apply to both these scenarios made no sense, and the government was correct to adjust policy accordingly.

But in mid-December, the government reverted to its original policy without explanation or consultation. Since that time, faith leaders across the province have been pushing, unsuccessfully, for a return to a percentage of capacity policy, one commensurate with what businesses are currently allowed.

Many have remarked upon the value of religion for society, especially in times of crisis. When people are lonely or afraid or looking for answers, the wisdom and the community of our religious traditions can be a lifesaver. What has not been as widely noted is the role of most religions in protecting people from extremism, polarization and conspiracy theories.

On top of the viral pandemic, we are also facing a virtual pandemic, one consisting of online misinformation and moral panic. And this second pandemic is amplifying the death count of the first. It is a genuine threat to public health, to say nothing of political stability and our capacity to live together as communities.

In the face of what some have called an “infodemic,” a good chunk of our work at the Archdiocese of Regina these days is to direct our people to reliable sources, to encourage best practices with respect to public health — not only in our parishes, but in the wider world — and to reassure people of the basic wisdom of public health measures. This is largely a thankless task, one that earns us charges of failing in our duty to defend the Church against government, which is imagined to be using the pandemic as a pretext to strip believers of their rights and freedoms.

The best strategies for promoting public health have recognized the need to work with and not against religious communities. After all, we share the same goal of protecting our communities, especially the vulnerable, from disease and death. But the current policy of the Saskatchewan government puts religious authorities in a very awkward position.

Churches are required to enforce inconsistent protocols on behalf of the government that give those in our communities who are already suspicious of the government’s motives all the evidence they need to not trust public health measures — not to mention more motivation to pursue ever wilder and more conspiratorial claims on social media. The anxiety and distress this leads to is itself becoming a public health crisis, to say nothing of the fact that such people are often highly suspicious of any vaccination campaign to end the pandemic.

It is time for the government to recognize that, not only are the current restrictions on places of worship inconsistent, but that such inconsistency is itself a threat to public health. It is increasingly difficult for religious communities to encourage common sense while they are required to follow and enforce safety protocols that are anything but.

Brett Salkeld is the theologian for the Archdiocese of Regina.

Archbishop’s Message for the first week of Advent

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, dear friends,

Here we are, at the start of Advent, aware now that we are going to have to live through every liturgical season of 2020 with the restrictions and challenges of this pandemic. There is a lot of frustration in the air, with a new level of restrictions over the next 3 weeks. But also hope, with the prospect of a vaccine in the new year, and given early reports, the prospect of an ethically produced vaccine which doesn’t create a profound moral dilemma for Catholics. For this we pray.

Meanwhile, we are called to live the present moment as well as we are able; that is all that the Lord ever asks of us. A few days ago I received an insightful email from a priest friend who asked to remain anonymous, but who has given me permission to share his reflection. He wrote, “forgive me. I don’t like to say nice things about the COVID pandemic, but a thought came to me this morning: For the first time in my entire life, this Advent is really going to be Advent, a season of waiting, a season of waiting in hope and anticipation. We should probably do something, at least personally, to recognize the gift of this and remember it, because we will probably never see this again in our lifetimes. For the first time for as long as I can remember, Advent will not be ‘Christmas already’. It will not be a month of Christmas parties. It will not be a month of Christmas concerts. We won’t be able to skip over the season of waiting to jump right into Christmas celebrations on the 1st of December like we always do. We’ll have the opportunity, like never before, to actually live Advent as the gift it is, instead of glossing right over it because we just can’t wait.”

I resonated deeply with my friend’s insight. As with every year at the start of November, as we started hearing Christmas carols in stores, I think, beautiful carols, but do we need to start just yet? The pandemic and the anticipation for a vaccine has put us into a place of waiting, and the season of Advent invites us to ground our waiting in a much deeper promise, one that we can live by, one that gives us great resources for living with joy and hope while we wait.

This Advent, my little team with whom these messages are prepared thought it might be good to have an Advent message each week, centred on one of the wonderful Advent hymns in our rich tradition. It is good and right that new composers and musicians continue to produce new Advent songs for us, but let’s not lose sight of the magnificent hymns which have come to us from past generations of peoples of faith. So in each message this year, I will reflect with you on Advent in light of one of those hymns, starting with the English hymn “People Look East”.

St Paul writes that all creation is groaning in the one great act of giving birth, and Advent is a season where we listen for what is being born, what is coming. Each verse of People Look East taps into that longing. The earth is bare but already preparing for the rose. The birds are waiting and preparing: “Even the hour when wings are frozen, God for fledgling time has chosen.” The stars are keeping watch when night is dim, waiting for the coming of a great light: “shining beyond the frosty weather, bright as sun and moon together.”

And what are they waiting for? It is love that is on the way, as the end of each verse reminds us: love, the guest, is on the way; love the rose; love the bird; love the star; love, the Lord, is on the way. The first readings of our liturgies through Advent, all from the prophets, mostly from Isaiah, remind us that God is coming into our world. We are invited to live in the presence of that promise. The yearnings within us, the yearnings of all creation, were not made to go unfulfilled. We do not live and die for nothing. We were created for a purpose. God is coming, God is creating a future for us, creating a Kingdom through and with and sometimes despite us.

Finally, the hymn reminds us, like the Gospel for the first Sunday of Advent, that our lives are a space where we are to get ready for Incarnation, where we await the coming of God in the flesh by staying awake, by getting ready. “Make your house fair as you are able; trim the hearth and set the table…. Set every peak and valley humming, with the Word, the Lord is coming.”

Dear friends, let us allow this masterpiece of a hymn to call us to a place of deep hope, keenly attentive to the promises of God which surround us this season. If it is a season of darkness in our world and in our lives, let us not despair. God is in the midst of it, bringing something to birth. Of Advent, Karl Rahner writes: “What must live in you is a humble, calm joy of faithful expectancy, which does not imagine that tangibles of the present time are everything.” Brothers and sisters, let us drink deeply from the wellsprings of hope and promise which Advent proclaims.

Rich blessings!

Watch Video Message HERE

Regarding Changes to COVID Protocols Affecting Mass Attendance in Regina

From the Archdiocese of Regina:

As announced earlier this week, a new SHA health order has increased certain COVID-19 restrictions. Effective Friday, November 6, 2020, these restrictions include mandatory use of non-medical masks in all indoor public spaces in Regina, Saskatoon, and P.A. This includes at our celebration of the Mass and all other parish gatherings. All persons attending all parish events within the city of Regina are required to wear non-medical face masks from the time they enter the building until they have exited the building.

For communion, the people should leave their mask on when they come forward, receive communion in whichever way your parish has determined, step to the side, slip the mask up, down, or to the side, consume the host, replace the mask and continue back to the pew.

Changes to gathering sizes included in this health order do not affect the Mass, weddings, funerals, or other religious gatherings at public places of worship. These continue to fall under the protocols found within the Saskatchewan Re-open Plan.

Regina Catholic School Board Trustees: Who’s Running

The Civic Election, including that of Catholic School  Trustees,  will take place on November 9th this year.  Because of the difficulties associated with face to face contact and personal conversations during campaigning, we are assisting the candidates through our electronic communications platforms.

This link provides profiles of all candidates.

You may also view video profiles of each candidate here.  

Please familiarize yourselves with the candidates and please be sure to Vote to elect the next Board of Trustees for our Regina Catholic Schools.

The Civic Election, including that of Catholic School Trustees, will take place on November 9th this year

The Civic Election, including that of Catholic School Trustees, will take place on November 9th this year. Because of the difficulties associated with face to face contact and personal conversations during campaigning, we will be assisting the candidates through our electronic communications platforms.

You will find profiles and photos of all the candidates for the position of Trustee posted on our Parish website beginning this week. Their materials will also be available on the websites of the Archdiocese, Regina Catholic Schools and the City of Regina.

Please familiarize yourselves with the candidates and please be sure to Vote to elect the next Board of Trustees for our Regina Catholic Schools.