Archbishop Donald Bolen of Regina has moved into the rectory at St. Mary’s Church. His residence is behind the church building, on the right. (Photo by Frank Flegel)
REGINA — St. Mary’s Church rectory in east Regina has a new tenant. Archbishop Donald Bolen was looking for modest quarters when St. Mary’s pastor, Rev. Ed Hengen, offered the vacant second floor of his rectory.
“I had seven rooms up there,” said Hengen. They need some upgrading, 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 fellow Resurrection Parish Knights of Columbus to help.
“The Resurrection Parish Knights have traditionally offered their services to the archbishop,” said Kowalchuk, “and they stepped up to the plate again.”
The two bathrooms on the second floor required 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 laid, cupboards and storage space were constructed and installed, and the space was re-configured to provide an office, a dining area and a bedroom.
A second space will serve as a guest room which can be used, for example, when the papal nuncio visits Nov. 26 - 28. Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi will be in Regina for the Pallium Mass Nov. 27, and will meet with diocesan staff Nov. 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 Bolen and Hengen will share the main floor kitchen for any serious cooking they do.
All the labour was volunteer and much of the supplies and equipment was donated. There was virtually no cost to the chancery. Bolen moved in Sept. 1.
The former archbishop’s residence, a two-storey house in Gardiner Park, will not be sold; it currently serves as a residence for a priest and a seminarian.
Kowalchuk said that the archbishop 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 extra income from the rent the archbishop pays.