Ascension St. Vincent Hospital 
Clinical Pastoral Education 

Now accepting applications for  2024-2025 Chaplain Residency, and Fall 2024 Interns (Updated March 2024)


Thank you for your interest in our Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program! 

We are located at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, 2001 W. 86th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.


We are dedicated to developing spiritual care leaders through transformative education, founded upon spiritual reflection, formation and competency.

Our hospital has been an accredited ACPE center since 1991, initially established through the creative collaboration of Joan Bumpus and Mike Saxton.   Since then our program has grown to include a chaplain residency program, certified educator training, and conducting intern units of CPE throughout our Ascension St. Vincent system as well as virtually in our national Ascension community.

 What is Clinical Pastoral Education?


Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is experience-based theological education for seminarians, clergy and lay persons of diverse cultures, ethnic groups and faith traditions. As the program’s name implies, CPE is:


CPE has a strong “hands-on” component. Participants meet with patients/residents/clients, and from their interaction develop their awareness and skills for pastoral care. Ascension St. Vincent Hospital provides a variety of clinical possibilities and a number of certified chaplain staff who serve as clinical preceptors.     Learning is experiential, 'at the bedside' and 'in the clinic.'


CPE is pastoral, focusing on putting an individual’s theology into practice.  Some describe CPE as “doing” theology versus “learning” theology. Depending on the particular CPE program, participants bring to their work a graduate degree in theology, work toward such a degree, or sufficient theological background to do pastoral ministry.   The term 'pastoral' is rooted in Christian language, yet pastoral and spiritual care is provided by persons of a wide variety of spiritual and religious perspectives and honors diversity among patients, families and associates.


Above all CPE is adult learning.  Students write their own learning goals based on their self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses in ministry and consultation with their group and supervisor.   Education is tailored to the personal and professional interests of the group. A unit of CPE is “400 hours combining a minimum of 100 hours of structured group and individual education with a minimum of 250 hours of supervised clinical practice in spiritual care.” (ACPE).

Why Choose Ascension St. Vincent Hospital CPE?

Our program offers a number of distinctive features:

  • We are rooted in the mission of Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, which dedicates us to special care for the poor and vulnerable as well as respect for the dignity and diversity of life
  • In-person education - we value personal engagement and interaction included as a component in all programs, and primary modality in Indianapolis
  • We have a faculty of three CPE educators who work collaboratively as a team
  • Each student is assigned a staff chaplain as a preceptor who can provide skilled mentoring and support
  • We value diversity and inclusion in our recruitment and education, as well as the provision of spiritual care

Chaplain Certification

Most national certifying bodies require a minimum of four accredited units of CPE prior to application for chaplain certification. For certification information consider the following:

CPE units taken at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital are recognized by all of these certifying bodies.

Program Accreditation

Ascension St. Vincent Hospital has offered Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) since 1991 through accreditation by:

ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education
1 Concourse Parkway, Suite 800
Atlanta, GA 30328

Phone: 404-320-1472
Fax: 404-320-0849

For more information, please contact Sean Doll O'Mahoney, Manager,  Ascension St. Vincent Hospital CPE Program at  317-338-9874 or email

Would You Like to Learn more about what chaplains do?

In 2018, brief interviews were conducted with Ascension chaplains; some of whom were students or graduates of our Clinical Pastoral Education program. 

Diversity and Inclusion 
Our CPE Program is committed to practicing the Ascension Core Value of Reverence: Honoring the Dignity and Diversity of Life.

We see diversity of all kinds as a strength and central to our vision that spiritual care leaders contribute to healthier communities, defining healthier communities as ones that "welcome diversity, practice inclusion at every level and have a holistic understanding of wellness."
We are inspired by the Ascension ABIDE Hallmarks and invite students to critically reflect on their own practice of spiritual care as well as our CPE program offerings in this light.