Why you want to know Lynda Kaye Barnes: For 33 years, Lynda Barnes has served as the financial secretary of St. Peter the Fisherman Church in Mountain Home. The Barnes moved to Mountain Home in 1981. Lynda started as the secretary in 1984 and was the only church staff member at the time. She has served under 21 priests and helped work on the church’s first parish directory and census before the digital age of computers. Barnes has also helped in the tribunal and assisted with the parish library when needed. She retired in June.
Parish: St. Peter the Fisherman Church
City: Mountain Home
Family: Married 43 years in December to her husband John Barnes, who has served as St. Peter’s director of music for 36 years; two sons, John Curtis III and Andrew Joseph; two grandchildren.
Education: University of Central Arkansas in Conway, bachelor’s degree in business education, with a minor in library science, 1976
IN HER OWN WORDS
Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “The Truth will set you free.” What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
I always took comfort in Psalm 120: “I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.” Sometimes he answers in ways you don’t understand. But if you keep faith, it becomes clear.
You grew up Methodist in DeWitt, but converted to Catholicism two months before your marriage in 1974. What drew you to the Catholic faith?
My husband and I both were converts … In college I had this fascination with the Church. I used to go to Mass long before I met John … I’d go to St. Joseph’s (in Conway) on Sunday, the early Mass at 8:30 and then after that I would go to First Methodist. There was just something about (the Mass) I liked. It was peaceful and had meaning to it.
What do you like about St. Peter’s?
St. Peter’s has always been a fascinating place to work. We have people from so many different places and backgrounds. It has always been so interesting visiting with them.
What were your responsibilities as the financial secretary?
I pay all the bills, do the financial reports, reports for the pastoral council, I work with the financial committee and do the budget, all that type of work. I helped with the tribunal; I do the marriage work, the people that need annulments.
What part of your job did you enjoy the most?
I think the work with the tribunal was the one I found most fulfilling. The paperwork and financial part was fine, but it was working with the people needing annulments, just needing help and they didn’t know where to start and just guiding them through the process. I got to meet more interesting people and got to know their life story. I found it very fulfilling.
What touched your heart while working as financial secretary?
I can remember back years ago we had this man he was from Czechoslovakia who didn’t speak much English at all. He was Catholic, but he didn’t have the documentation. He was confirmed when the bishop came. It felt so good to help someone to get through that, to get the documentation so he could be confirmed. Then working with the priests. I’ve worked with 21 priests and everyone has a different personality like everyone else. I’ve loved every one of them.
We want to travel more; we want to spend more time with the grandkids. They live in Mount Vernon, Mo. Andrew is a wildlife conservation agent for the state of Missouri. … There’s days I just want to get in my car to go see my grandkids. Travel has been the thing we’ve loved more than anything. It’ll be nice to come back and not have to start back to work. And after I’ve had a breathing spell, I’ll probably try volunteering at the public library because that was my first love.
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