Spiritual shepherd plans to promote reconciliation

 — Mar. 20, 201020 mars 2010

Bishop-elect Donald Bolen’s mission;
Spiritual shepherd plans to promote reconciliation

Monsignor Donald Bolen plans to be a shepherd to the faithful. However, the bishop-elect of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon also sees his ecumenical mission as bringing about reconciliation among all Christians.

As bishop, he hopes to lead the Catholic faithful to deeper discipleship in Christ and deeper living out of the Gospel.

“Particular areas that are profoundly important to me are the increasing difficulty Christians — and people in general — have in believing with full conviction of mind and soul that God is all-loving, good, and self-giving.

“I would hope I can initiate a significant and profound reflection on the way in which God is acting in fundamental human experience so that, as it says in 1 Peter 3:15, we will be able to give account for the hope that is within us so our faith can be an articulate, deeply-held faith.”

The other area of spiritual mission Bolen hopes to influence is working toward bringing reconciliation among Christians.

“I am overjoyed to be coming to a diocese and a city where there is a very active centre for ecumenism,” he says. “Good relationships are already built up. I look forward to engaging in that and looking for further ways to enjoy common witness, common missions of serving the poor and those in need, common prayer whenever appropriate, and common study of the Scriptures and our faith.”

Bolen will be installed as bishop in a special service Thursday, when The Most Rev. Daniel Bohan, Bishop of the Archdiocese of Regina, will officiate. Due to space issues, the ordination is by invitation only.

However, the public is invited to an ecumenical service at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Bolen was born and raised near Gravelbourg, where he attended elementary and high school. Upon graduation, he enrolled in English and religious studies at the University of Regina, where he served as assistant editor of the university’s Carillon newspaper.

A personal spiritual search led him to Madonna House in Ontario, where he worked for the poor and considered his future.

“I thought of going into social justice work or teaching, but I was drawn to the monastic life. I also wanted to write. At a moment of grace, and through spiritual discernment, it all coalesced into studying for the priesthood, a vocation where I believed I could put all my areas of gifting and interest to work.”

Bolen entered Saint Paul Seminary/University in Ottawa in 1986, graduating with master of theology and licentiate in theology degrees.

Ordained in 1991 for the Archdiocese of Regina, Bolen was assigned to the Estevan/Bienfait parish, where he remained for two years before going to Oxford for post-graduate studies.

“I went to study the way in which God in Jesus Christ revealed the fundamental Christian experience,” he says. “My supervisor was a Jesuit who spent 20 years in international Anglican/Roman Catholic dialogue. He manoeuvred me to the ecumenical field and I became completely involved in examining Anglican/Catholic dialogue.”

Partway through his doctoral thesis, Bolen was called back to Regina where he taught at Campion College for two years before embarking on a sabbatical year to work on his thesis.

“I never completed my thesis because the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity asked me to work there.”

Bolen served as Vatican staff person for Anglican/Catholic and Methodist/Catholic relations for seven years. During that time, the Archbishop of Canterbury awarded him the Cross of Saint Augustine for his service in developing relations between the Anglican and Catholic communions.

In early 2009, Bolen returned to Regina to accept the Nash Chair in Religion at Campion College, and assumed the role of Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Regina. Only four months into that appointment, a phone call came from the Vatican’s ambassador to Canada asking him to take the position of bishop of Saskatoon.

Two of Bolen’s long-time ecumenical colleagues and key figures in the international ecumenical movement will participate in the ordination. Prof. Geoffrey Wainwright, a Methodist who has chaired Methodist/Catholic dialogue for the past 25 years, and Bolen’s immediate superior, Bishop Brian Farrell, assistant to Cardinal Walter Kasper at the Vatican and in charge of ecumenical relations within the Catholic Church, will both have a role in the Wednesday evening service. They will also participate in an informal panel discussion at St. Andrew’s College on Thursday from 1-3 p.m., to which the public is invited.

Wednesday’s ecumenical prayer service at St. Paul’s will include spiritual reflections by Bolen and Wainwright, as well as musical contributions featuring the group for Taizé chant from Queen’s House. A reception will follow.

Posted: Mar. 20, 2010 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=6120
Categories: NewsIn this article: bishops, Catholic, Donald Bolen, Saskatoon
Transmis : 20 mars 2010 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=6120
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : bishops, Catholic, Donald Bolen, Saskatoon

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