Clinical Pastoral Education

posted on 05/09/12 10:52 am by Kathy McMerty  

Article by Fr. Steve Morissey, C.Ss.R.

What a wonderful experience! The wonderful experience I am talking about is a Clinical Pastoral Education Unit that I recently completed at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, SK. I participated in the first of four possible units of CPE. I entered into this CPE Unit out of a great desire to learn even more about an aspect of ministry that I have grown to love, namely hospital ministry.

The Clinical Pastoral Education Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital was better than words could ever describe. The joy of these past months was so great that I cannot keep it all to myself. Hopefully these few words will attempt to describe these moments of transformation and ministry which has filled my summer.

I was graced to be able to do more than simply live these eleven weeks of CPE, I was graced to have these weeks transform me. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a fantastic prayer moment. The members of my group and I gathered in prayer every day. It was through these daily gatherings, among many other activities like IPR (interpersonal relationships” time and social time over coffee that we really got to know each other, and pray for each other.

The Clinical Pastoral Care Unit that filled my days from mid-May to the end of July was composed of 6 students. Of those 6 – two are future Lutheran clergy members, two others are future United Church ministers, a Mennonite Pastor (who recently has been employed in the correctional system) and me. This range of backgrounds made for a very diverse and ecumenical group, a wonderful group who really enriched and supported each other.

To begin painting a picture of the summer of 2012 I also need to add in two other events from these past several months, one being “the World Day of Prayer” and the second memorable event is titled “Night Fever”. Clinical Pastoral Education, the World Day of Prayer event and Night Fever are three moments that consumed and energized me since Easter Sunday. Together these three moments have given me much to speak about.

On the evening of Pentecost Sunday, at the end of the Easter season, in a building which used to be the home of Knights of Columbus bingos, several different Christian traditions came together in prayer. In a similar way, during the summer of 2012 the same movement of the Holy Spirit lead young people and adults alike, to gather in prayer, and take part in an event called “Night Fever”. The next few lines describe what “Night Fever” is all about.

On a few different Friday evenings, during the summer of 2012, prayer filled the downtown corridor of Saskatoon. The initial “Night Fever” event, (followed by later summer events) really left a lasting impression on my heart. Night Fever is an event based around reconciliation, music & prayer. It is an event based around having Christ in our life.

The World Day of Prayer combined with Night Fever, along with all 11 weeks of CPE allowed my classmates and others make comments like; “Steve you are on fire with zeal, never lose that”.

They were speaking about a fire and a zeal which is very similar to the one which fills the writings of men like our founder. My classmates and others were speaking of a fire and zeal I first took into my life 20 years ago with first profession. They were all speaking about a fire and a zeal similar to that which can be found and described in the words of our C&S # 20.

I was blessed to share in the Saskatoon Ecumenical Prayer Service for the World Day of Prayer. The blessing did not end there but rather carried forward into the evening reconciliation events called “Night Fever”. The words, Mercy, Upon Mercy, Upon Mercy, where first spoken when Bishop Don took office here in Saskatoon, they are words which Christ first brought into our lives. They are words which rest in the center of our faith tradition.

That gift of Mercy was set aflame once again during the Reconciliation event “Night Fever”. That same gift of Mercy was made evident for me, during the weeks of CPE, as I was able to journey with several families at the death of their family members.

CPE had me sharing in ministry on a surgical ward as well as in the ICU Unit of the hospital. I had classmates on other surgical wards, the PCU unit, the Palliative Care Unit, as well as various Medical Wards of the hospital. Two other classmates were stationed outside of St. Paul’s Hospital. They were covering different parts of the Saskatoon region. One classmate spent every morning in the NICU and Maternal Health Units at a neighbouring hospital while the 6th member of our class spent every morning in the Correctional Institute.

Clinical Pastoral Education has invited me to trust even more, it has invited me to reach out beyond what I know and it has clearly reminded me that God’s gifts are available in so many different ecumenical forms as well as the two wonderful sexes of our species, namely male and female, CPE made it clear to me as our Nigerian brothers have reminded us: God is good all the time and all of the time God is good.

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