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Archive for August, 2009

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) reflections

I was looking for blog posts about experiences in hospital Pastoral Care.  I found some great reflections by someone who did volunteer work in a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program.  Although we didn’t get much formal training in my hospital work this past summer at IPF in Omaha, NE, some of these reflections could have been helpful:

1.  The nature of loss

2.  Agendas and the chaplaincy

3.  When someone asks “Why?”

4.  Assessing spiritual needs

5.  The needs of the dying

6.  Questions in pastoral care

Brooklyn Bishop at St Mark’s Parish

090830-1207_Brooklyn-Auxiliary-Bishop-Octavio-Cisneros-at-St-Mark-ParishMASS — today at St Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church (in Southwest Ranches, FL), a visiting friend of Fr Whyte presided the Mass.  Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros of the Diocese of Brooklyn celebrated Mass.  Even though the Deacon did a good homily, I wish the Bishop shared his wisdom over the readings.  There was also a long announcement encouraging involvement in ministries, especially Religious Education.  The Bishop supplemented both talks with great insight into tapping into our Baptism to be instruments of the Holy Spirit evangelizing wherever we can.  Catechesis is a critical part of our faith that we should all be involved in … whether on the receiving end to grow in our intimacy of our faith or the giving end as catechists to our own families or to others.  He also shared gratitude for the parish to having the weekly tradition of families taking home a Vocation Cup to pray for the response to God call in all our lives, whether it be priesthood, the religious life, or marriage.  He’s a very personable and holy man.

prayer for God’s Will

August 26, 2009 2 comments

My Lord God I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will always trust you though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Amen.

[a favorite prayer from Thomas Merton] — thanx Gigi for the reminder!

being a summer chaplain with poverty

August 17, 2009 2 comments

I found an article in the Florida Catholic about Jim Grebe, a 3rd year Theologian seminarian at St Vincent DePaul Regional Seminary, whose summer assignment was a chaplain at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola.  It reminded me of my own experience over this past summer at IPF as a volunteer chaplain 2 afternoon each week at Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha, NE.

090228_IPF-Hospital-Pastoral-group-1As a strong introvert, my assignment at a hospital was a welcomed challenge that transformed any “preparations” that I could have made into simple “presence and prayer” that I had to rest in to make it through fruitfully.  My general progression was from Post-Intensive Care (PINS), Physical Rehab, Cancer, ICU and then Behavioral Health (mostly adults).  Each unit, as well as each individual room, brought their own challenges and blessings.  Going into rooms “cold” without much knowledge of condition or spiritualities left me at the mercy of Christ dependent on Him and allow the Holy Spirit to work without having to “try so hard” under my own abilities.

In identifying the poverty in those I ministered to, I came to recognize my own poverty that brings empathy with the poverty of Christ.  As I was stepping out in faith “giving” ministry unselfishly, I identified with the “heart of Christ” — then, in reflection, the receiving became more pure and made me more receptive to pure desires with greater confidence in the Spirit.  I found that praying within my own poverty opened opportunities in intimate relationship with God both in private prayer and with those ministered to.

On strong example was my first experience with a patient in ICU on a respirator, unable to speak a response to the open-ended questions I was trained to ask.  I quickly retreated in fear to my superior Josh, who help adjust my approach and engagement.  I returned to the patient with slightly more confidence in myself while becoming growingly dependent on the Holy Spirit to fill my poverty in encountering the non-verbal Christ with my “heart of Christ” in a distinct moment of Presence in my presence.  Using simple words of encouragement to comfort, taking time to ask important yes/no questions, and listening to the feeling of a hand-squeeze for an answer was a moment of fullness of grace.  Taking the experience to prayer and spiritual direction was easily seen as a growing echo to listen less to the words of my thoughts and more to the feelings of my heart when discerning with perseverance to God’s voice to me.

Thank you to all that ministered to me in the experience … Hospital staff, Pastoral Ministry staff, IPF staff and the Archdiocese of Miami for sending me on assignment.  I was truly blessed and I prayer all that I touched were indeed “touched” as I was.

Dominic & Dan in DR

August 16, 2009 1 comment

I saw an article today in the Florida Catholic with 2 of my seminarian brothers.  Dominic Buckley (Diocese of Orlando) and Dan Martin (Miami) had a picture of them with some kids in the Dominican Republic over this summer.  The article was mainly about Dominic’s experience.  St Vincent DePaul Regional Seminary usually sends seminarians after their first year as Theologians for a Spanish immersion program.  It’s nice to see more on vocations in the Florida Catholic.

Samsung Alias 2

samsung-alias-2-comboI used a overdue upgrade credit toward a new cell phone replacing my beloved 4 year old Motorola E815 that I’ve been using to take virtually all my pictures throughout my time in seminary and posted on this blog site.

I don’t text very much and didn’t really consider a keyboard phone, but the Verizon store had a Samsung Alias 2 on display that I couldn’t stop looking at.  Even though the buttons are smaller then I’m used to, there’s lots of them for quick access to everything and their functions change several ways with a QWERTY Magic keypad.  I miss the round dial that I’m used to (that I believe the Alias 1 had), but the extras seem to make up for it.  The camera is a 2 megapix (compared to my 1.5), but is a big difference.

I like it a lot.

my brothers @ St Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary

August 10, 2009 2 comments

Today is arrival day for new Theologian seminarians at St Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary in Boyton Beach, FL.  Since I discerned leaving seminary formation just recently, I didn’t need to go, but I wanted to tell my classmates and seminary brothers personally about my discernment.  Luck for me, one of my brothers needed a ride, so I offered to drive him and his stuff (including “piano”) up there.

sonic-drive-inIt was great to see each other after the summer break, but sad having to say I wouldn’t be in formation with them this year.  Everyone was very supportive and understanding, but I didn’t want my leaving to effect their own vocational journey.  I know from experience that guys that left did remind me of my own discernment in subtle ways that, left ignored, may add to doubt, but when faced, could help grow in confidence in my vocational journey.

I still hope to keep in touch with most of them, through phone, Facebook and food (Sonic is right across the street).

God bless you guys and stay holy!