|Lynn Womack, director of administrative services at St. Henry Church in Nashville, has retired after 33 years on the job. Photo by Andy Telli
Lynn Womack has been serving St. Henry Church and its parishioners for more than 33 years. “I’m on my third pope, third bishop and fifth pastor,” she said. “I’ve worked for so many wonderful people.”
Womack, director of administrative services at St. Henry, officially retired on Dec. 31, 2015, but has remained on the job until her replacement, Claire Hale, arrives Feb. 1. “I’m 76 years old,” Womack said. “I’ve always said don’t stay too long.”
Her stay has been productive and appreciated by those she’s worked for and with. “She was an outstanding presence at St. Henry,” said Father Mike Johnston, who served as pastor at St. Henry for nearly 25 years before retiring last summer.
“She’s very professional, knowledgeable, competent, hardworking, loyal, just tremendously dedicated and totally dependable,” Father Johnston said.
St. Henry parishioners will show their appreciation for Womack’s service at a reception in her honor in the parish Fellowship Hall after the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday, Jan. 30.
Womack and her late husband, Bill, moved their family to Nashville in 1967. She became a parishioner at St. Henry three years later. In the early 1980s, she decided to go back to work and was taking computer processing classes. One of the women in her class was Beverly Upchurch, who was leaving her job as secretary for St. Henry’s religious education program and suggested Womack apply for it. “And I did. And I got it.”
With 2,000 families when Womack started in 1983, St. Henry had a large religious education program that also included a small, weekly preschool program, Womack said.
Three years later, St. Henry’s pastor, Father William Bevington called Womack into his office and asked if she wanted the job of office manager to replace Eleanor Flanagan who was leaving. “Eleanor gave me an hour and a half and said, ‘You’ll do it your way,’ and out she went.”
Over the years, Womack’s responsibilities have grown as the parish has grown. As she prepares to leave, “I oversee the operations of the entire parish,” Womack said. “You’ve got to have somebody who coordinates everything.”
Although always an active parish, St. Henry has become more so in the last 30 years, Womack said. “As we’ve added staff, and we have a wonderful staff, the stewardship people have been instrumental in creating more and more ministries and active ministries. …
“The pastors are the key to this,” Womack said. “They have led this parish in the most remarkable ways, each one of them very different. I learned a tremendous amount from all of them.”
As director of administrative services, Womack oversees a staff of 25 people in the church office. “All of them are wonderful people,” Womack said. “They all are very devoted to the parish. They all do an excellent job. … They’ve made my job easy.”
The key to doing her job, Womack said, is “you have to be very flexible, you have to be able to communicate clearly and easily with everybody ... not only your staff but all the parishioners too.”
As a retiree, Womack plans to spend more time with her family who live out of state, and “I’m going to take a bible study class. … I’ve never had time to do that.”
Womack’s co-workers “have all been wonderful people,” she said. “And we’ve had a lot of fun too.”