Congratulations to our Class of 2023 CPE graduates! We are so proud of the fourteen students who have worked diligently and shown exceptional dedication and growth during their time with us.

We had the privilege of speaking with some of our accomplished graduates to gain insights into their experiences, aspirations, and the impact of the CPE program.

Kyle Yonemura
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Kyle was referred by his school to complete the summer CPE program. Throughout the course, he underwent substantial personal growth, recognizing the importance of tending to individuals’ emotional and spiritual well-being. He fondly recalls the supportive presence of Judy Sweet, an administrative professional at Pacific Health Ministry, whose kindness left a lasting impression.

After graduation, Kyle aspires to work as an Emergency Services Chaplain.

Anthony Tran
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Anthony eagerly joined the Summer CPE Program after being referred by the Catholic Seminarian from the Diocese of Honolulu.

Reflecting on his journey throughout CPE, he shared, “PHM has offered me remarkable avenues to delve into my identity as an individual dedicated to caring for all hospital constituents—be it patients, family members, or medical staff. Particularly when it involves addressing spiritual and emotional needs.”

For those contemplating the CPE journey, Anthony advises to maintain a positive and open outlook, be open to hospital experiences, and collaborate with mentors and fellow participants in the program.

Post-graduation, Anthony plans to return to the seminary for further priestly development.

Rebecca “Becky” Nyaki
Hometown: Tanzania, East Africa

Originally from Tanzania, East Africa, Becky made her way to New York, where she is involved with the Maryknoll Society Center. Her introduction to the CPE Residency Program came through the recommendation of a fellow Maryknoll Sister.

Throughout this experience, she found herself in a constant state of self-discovery, not only understanding her own identity but engaging with others on their spiritual quests.

“It is such a wonderful program that inspires people to be humble and to witness giving our brothers and sisters a chance to feel the experience of God’s love, enjoy life, find meaning and peace.”

When asked about her most cherished memory, Becky revealed the pleasure she finds in sharing stories of joy, offering support to others, and serving as a beacon of hope to those in need.

Becky aspires to continue her career as a professional chaplain, making meaningful contributions to the field of care.

Gemma Cubero del Barrio
Hometown: Spain

Originally from Spain, Gemma relocated to Los Angeles, CA, and currently resides in Kailua, HI, where she completed her first Summer CPE Program.

Gemma believes that supporting PHM is important because it offers a special chance to understand the diverse community in Hawaii. She values how PHM takes a holistic approach to treating patients and medical teams with dignity. Her personal and professional aspirations involve refining her skills as a hospital chaplain and offering solace through prayer.

When asked about a favorite memory of PHM, Gemma couldn’t just pick one. “I appreciate the entire team, the skillful supervision of Reverend Anke, the graceful qualities of Reverend Al, and the generous guidance of Chaplain Kudol in the hospital. Plus, all the hard work of Judy with all our paperwork!”

Post-graduation, she hopes to pursue a residency with PHM at Queen’s Medical Center while she continues her two-year training in the Buddhist Chaplaincy program.

Alan Patadlas
Hometown: Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines

Alan served as a resident chaplain at The Queen’s Medical Center-Manamana/Punchbowl. This was his second CPE experience after a previous summer CPE experience at Silliman University in Dumaguete, Philippines.

Stumbling upon the PHM CPE program online during his search for residency options, he wholeheartedly supports PHM’s mission to provide spiritual care to patients, families and staff with diverse cultures, beliefs and religions.

Alan’s journey through CPE has led to significant personal and professional development, enabling him to manage the demands of CPE, Church Ministry, and family. “While I knew about the significance of self-care, it was in CPE that I put this knowledge into action. I came to understand that maintaining a balance between work and personal life can enhance both physical and mental well-being while also minimizing emotional and physical strain. Through CPE, I had the opportunity to collaborate with fellow professionals beyond the church setting, which allowed me to widen my network of professional relationships.”

After graduation, Alan plans to continue working as a chaplain.

Erin Richardson Severin
Hometown: Sewanee, Tennessee

Erin was born and raised in Mānoa, HI then moved to Sewanee, Tennessee, where she undertook seminary studies. She returned to Hawai‘i to complete the Summer Intern Unit after discovering the program while searching for suitable options for her CPE requirement.

Erin has grown both professionally and personally, gaining awareness of her own triggers and hidden dynamics. “Finally, I feel I have grown a lot in my comfort responding to people’s pastoral and spiritual needs, including better assessing the spiritual background of an individual, as well as determining strategies for response.”

Her advice to future CPE students encourages openness to learning and growth while nurturing one’s spiritual center. Reflecting on impactful experiences, Erin cites the profound significance of giving her first verbatim and gaining insight into the responses she received. She will remember the laughs, tears, and smiles shared as a team among his favorite memories.

After graduation, she intends on returning to seminary in Hawai‘i.

Rebecca “Becca” Cooper
Hometown: Louisiana

Becca participated in the one-year residency CPE program after learning about the program from a friend in seminary class.

Throughout the CPE journey, Becca has become more culturally sensitive and responsive, learning to listen without judgement, mainly when working with patients and families under the care of the pain and palliative care team. Becca believes people should support PHM for its opportunities to connect with diverse cultures and communities. It encourages students to foster curiosity, self-awareness, spiritual grounding, nurturing them into compassionate caregivers while also strengthening their ministry calling.

When asked what advice to give future CPE students, Becca said, “Be curious about your own story and each person you meet. View each encounter as an opportunity to deepen your love with your higher power and your human siblings.” Becca fondly remembers sharing meals and fellowship with PHM employees and students. The class trip to Iolani Palace is another cherished experience.

After graduation, Becca plans to work as a full-time chaplain at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Preston Castro
Hometown: Waipahu, HI

Preston completed the Summer Internship Program at Pali Momi Medical Center. His journey through the CPE program has equipped him with vital patient interaction skills. He’s practiced appropriate communication with patients and their families, adeptly handled various situations, and offered meaningful support. Beyond these skills, the program’s most profound lesson for him has been understanding humanity’s innate struggles.

Sharing wisdom with future CPE students, Preston advises them to embrace the emotional challenges of hospital chaplaincy. “Hospital Chaplaincy will trigger a lot of undealt wounds and pains in one’s own life, so EMBRACE IT. These are opportunities to find healing in one’s life. Healing does not come from ignoring it, but it comes from acknowledging it and dealing with it. Healing is what brings freedom from one’s past. There will be days when you will feel like you are not making a difference, but remember this – your presence makes a difference, so just be present.”

Next, Preston will embark on a pastoral internship at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Waialua, HI.

It’s evident that the CPE program plays a vital role in nurturing compassionate, skilled chaplains who make a significant difference in the lives of those they serve. Your support for PHM ensures that this essential foundation for effective ministry continues to thrive, touching countless lives and bringing comfort and hope where needed most.