11/1/2012 11:37:00 AM Kindness offered in funeral planning
Holy Trinity Church photo
A funeral altar at Holy Trinity Church in Beaverton.
BEAVERTON — When Holy Trinity Church members lose a loved one, they will mostly likely meet Ann Hammond, parish funeral coordinator.
Hammond helps with details like finding musicians, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, a eulogist and gift bearers, and she makes sure everyone knows exactly what they’re supposed to be doing during the service itself.
“When we plan the service, [she] is very skilled at assisting families through these challenging and tender times,” said Father Dave Gutmann, pastor of Holy Trinity.
Hammond said she and the priest have developed a team approach for the initial meeting with a family.
“I try to get the details down, and he works really hard to understand who this person was,” she said. Families make as many decisions as they can or want, and then Hammond takes care of the rest.
At the funeral itself, Hammond is typically there directing people.
“It really reduces the stress if people don’t have to remember what to do and when, even things as simple as bringing the gifts,” she said. She sits where people can see her, and silently gives them a cue when it’s their turn.
With a background in pastoral counseling, Hammond has a special way of connecting with people.
Funerals are important, she said, because people are so vulnerable that an impression will certainly be made, and it can be good or bad.
Hammond tries to make sure it’s always good.
“If we approach them with love and care, it makes all the difference,” she said. “Even people who have never stepped foot in a Catholic church are touched one way or another at that funeral.”
In return for her efforts, Hammond says families usually show intense gratitude.
“We work really hard to be the arms of Christ at that moment,” she said.
Hammond is retired, and she volunteers her time to coordinate the bereavement ministry at the large suburban parish.
“She is a huge help to me personally, and makes a wonderful difference in helping our funeral occasions to be times of comfort, support and grace for our families,” Father Gutmann said.