Gloria Zane, Volunteer Outreach Coordinator

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Holy Trinity, Oahu
http://www.holytrinitychurchhawaii.org/

Holy Trinity Church, Oahu

Holy Trinity Church, Oahu

Gloria Zane works upstairs in the Holy Trinity rectory. Quiet and cool, her office is as neat as a pin. She is totally prepared for our interview with meticulous documentation about the parish, her background, and a list of current programs and people that are served by the parish Outreach Ministry. Although she is a volunteer, she came to Holy Trinity with a breadth of experience as a retired Hawaii State Judiciary social worker with skills to help individuals and families navigate healthcare and social service systems.  Despite a professional and reserved exterior, she speaks with depth and caring, “I’m a career social worker, but working in the parish, there is a spiritual component that you can never share in government service. Whether it is families in need of financial assistance, or advice in caring for an elderly parent…I assess their situation, and try to minister to their spiritual and practical needs. This may mean just listening to their frustrations, and then discussing services that might help them.” She pauses, “Really, this work feeds my soul. It touches me personally because of the depth of their gratitude…you can see it in their eyes.”

Volunteer run Thrift Store

Volunteer run Thrift Store

While Holy Trinity is located in the affluent area of Hawaii Kai, the parish finds ways to utilize its resources to reach outside the community, and help others.  “We don’t have our own pantry, but our parish donates food to St. Patrick’s food pantry as well as donating food certificates purchased through the Office for Social Ministry. We have wonderful volunteers that maintain a thrift shop, and we also provide financial assistance to needy individuals and families regardless of their faith, helping with rent, utilities, school clothing and medical needs. ” Gloria explains further that the parish had received a grant from the Office for Social Ministry, “I tend to be really strict. Because of our grant and parish donations, we are able to help with financial assistance in many cases, for those people in need. But there are those who “work the system” as well.  OSM set us up with Charity Check, an online way to check the amount of benefits people receive. I feel responsible to be a good steward of these funds, so as hard as it is, sometimes I have to say no.”

Holy Trinity is also part of an interfaith program called Family Promise,  and provides week-long housing and meals four times a year to homeless families in need. “Holy Trinity was the first Catholic Church in the Honolulu network.  Blessed Sacrament subsequently assisted Holy Trinity by periodically hosting and providing dinners.  We currently have over 100 volunteers.” Gloria adds that the involvement of the parish with the families (referred to as guests) they are hosting is very rewarding.  “Parishioners and their families stay and eat with the guests, celebrate their birthdays, and play with the children. This gives our guests a semblance of family life and shows them we care. When they are getting their stuff to go, I tear up every single time. They are so grateful, so humble, and very appreciative of what we do. The experience has been very positive for our parish.”