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Fr. Peter John, A.A. and his CPE Experience

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Ten weeks at CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), it was a wonderful time for me to approach focused on the emotional formation and professional training in ministry. It also was helping me to train personnel to develop a better understanding of pastoral ministry in healthcare, and to acquire the necessary spiritual, psychological and behavioral skills for the ministry. In other words, I find CPE program significant, beneficial and I have seen nothing called for improvements because it is preparing my own death through having better relationship with God, others, nature and self. That preparation may mean finding, claiming and repairing myself that I have that self to be shared to others. At the end of my life, I’ll be judged by how much I have loved, not by what I’ll be bringing but by what I may leave.

In fact, CPE program didn’t set me high expectations from the beginning and I thought that it was fun and relax in comparing with academic formation that I have studying in France. However, it was very demanding with written requirements: 12 verbatims, 8 growth reports, 1 mid-point evaluation, 1 self-verbatim, 1 biblical image, 1 case study, 1 end point evaluation and 400 hours of patient visitation. All these requirements challenged me not only to understand more my human being, awareness as a minister and the ways of ministry affects person but also I learned from that ministry through reflection, discussion, and evaluation with other students and supervisors. It didn’t bring me up, it brings me down to my own human level which long time had not been visited. This was conducted to assist me in understanding theological issues arising from experience as well.

The most experiences that I have during the CPE were visiting, listening and holding the hand of patients to console, to pray and to share about merciful God and his forgiveness. I met there the people and who were experiencing the most inevitable reality of life- death. Through them, either I could look back my past or my past brought me back to who I was and where I am. That is why I asked myself to open my heart so that the mind may understand better; to trust the God of my past who trust me in the present onwards. Now, any situation, the first question that comes to my mind: How are you feeling! With this question, I hope to learn more about listening’s attitude from heart and more compassionate with others. Moreover, I learned from those lapses through the awareness which the CPE group help me to have. Through personal evaluation and sharing of others, I have tried to listen, to discern and to interiorize all good and bad in order to modify my issues as well as improve the strengths that I am. As human, it was difficult to listen and to accept when the peers say the feedback or the own issues about me. So I felt that it is not dramatic, on the contrary, I must be empty, be truth, be humble and purify more myself. It is giving the self that is engulfed with God and receiving others who are in need of God. I’m very happy to welcome that with openness because I always consider as human being unfinished, be keen desire to grow up more in the deep relationship with God, others and to become better every day in love of God and love of others.

The last experience I would like to share is IPDR experience and Holistic care. Holistic care is concerned with the whole person and incudes not only a person’s physical health but also their social, emotional, spiritual health and well-being. That is why I’m very be aware about this question: how I can continue to think in harmony between the body, mind, emotion, spirituality and self-care the daily life! As chaplain, I recognized that the IPDR (Incarnation-Passion-Death-Resurrection) is important experience in the hospital chaplain as well as pastoral care. It helps me not only enter deeply into the mystery of faith and mystery of salvation but also deeply understand Jesus Christ, son of God, is fully human and fully divine. He is truly an Emmanuel.

To conclude, CPE given me the particular experiences between the others experiences that I have had during 10 years of priesthood. CPE, the most emotional formation that I never forget in my life. I always remember my group that I named TORAH, means: TRUST – OPENESS – RESPECT – ACCEPTANCE – HUMINITY. It transformed me and affected firmly in my ministry not only horizontal dimension but also vertical dimension.

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