By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published July 7, 2005
Married for 43 years, Deacon Gary Womack and his wife Sharron have a gentle banter only shared between spouses who have known each other for decades. The pallium Mass pilgrimage was their third trip to Rome, but also one of the most special as they renewed their marriage vows just two days after their 43rd wedding anniversary.
Upon learning of the couple’s anniversary, Bishop Robert J. Baker of Charleston, S.C., who traveled with the group at the beginning of the pilgrimage, offered to officiate at the Womacks’ renewal of vows.
“He’s a very special, very loving, caring, pastoral shepherd,” Sharron Womack said of Bishop Baker.
He called the couple up after the homily during the Mass celebrated at St. Mary of the Angels Basilica in Assisi on June 26.
“We were facing each other, and I was looking at my baby, and all of a sudden, I didn’t see the woman I had woken up next to in recent years, but I saw the beautiful eyes of my 19-year-old bride,” Deacon Womack said. “It was a very memorable experience.”
Mrs. Womack said that renewing their vows now that they are older seemed especially meaningful.
“It was very special and especially as we mature in our lives, it’s just more special knowing what you’ve gone through before and how much you need that support of a loving husband or wife,” she said.
The Womacks, who belong to St. John Neumann Church in Lilburn, were one of three couples to renew their vows on the pilgrimage.