It was during her early years, growing up in Cranston in a large Italian family that was always a fixture at each Sunday’s Mass, that Linda Macomber developed a spiritual closeness with Jesus and a desire to be of service in spreading his word.
“I always felt like Jesus was my buddy and if I had a problem I could always talk to him,” Macomber says.
“I come from a family of eight and there wasn’t always somebody to talk to. He was the one. I always had a nice communication with him.”
Macomber knew early on that she wanted to help guide young people as a teacher, but she also wanted to raise a family of her own.
She and John, her late beloved husband of 48 years, who passed away in 2017, would have four children of their own — three daughters, Julie, Lisa and Colleen; and a son, Alex — while also dedicating many years of service to their parish of SS. John and Paul in Coventry. She now has five grandchildren, with her two youngest children, Colleen and Alex, each expecting to add a second child to their respective families this year.
“Since my husband died, it’s been very difficult, but I do get a lot of enjoyment out of being with my family,” Macomber says. “We ski every weekend so I get to see them. I want to be with my family all the time.”
Macomber served as an elementary school teacher for 28 years in East Greenwich, before putting some time in as a substitute teacher in Coventry as she wrapped up her career.
“When I retired 22 years ago I said, ‘What can I do?’ to Father Joseph Henry,” she says of the now pastor emeritus. The message of service seemed to be in everybody’s homily.
“He came up with a few things,” Macomber smiles. Thus began a long period of service to her parish that has energized and sustained her through even the most difficult of times.
She began serving as a lector, and then as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion. Soon, her committee work began.
“I’ve been doing the Outreach Committee, which is where my big projects come from, for the past 22 years. My big project is the Giving Tree project at Christmastime.”
Through the Giving Tree, Macomber works with other parishioners and entities to ensure that the less fortunate will receive gifts each Christmas.
Another of her favorite outreach efforts to work on is the Apple Tree project, in which she collects school supplies for kids.
The committee also coordinates special food drives.
“We collect food for our local food pantry,” she says. “We put a little notice in the bulletin saying what we could use and people are very generous. We get a lot of food and I bring it over every single week to the Coventry Food Pantry.”
At Thanksgiving, Macomber works with the head of the parish’s religious education program to prepare food baskets for those in need from items collected by the CCD classes.
“I’m always moving food,” she smiles.
Macomber is especially proud of the parish’s former Landings program, which she worked on extensively with her late husband. Landings was designed to help people that drifted away from the church.
One of her favorite ministries to assist in is her role serving at the table of the Lord.
“I love being an altar server, it’s one of my favorite ministries,” she says.
Linda also trains all our altar servers and takes part in decorating the altar for holidays and special events,” parishioner Walter F. McLaughlin said in nominating Macomber for the Lumen Gentium award for parish service.
Macomber also serves on the parish Liturgical Committee and the Welcoming Committee, which hosts a reception every few months for those who are new to the parish. Despite all the service projects that she is involved with, Macomber feels that she still does not do enough given all the blessings that she continues to receive for her efforts.
“I know it’s never enough,” she says. “That’s why we’re here. What would Jesus do? Serve, that’s what Jesus would do. So here I am.”
— AWARDS BANQUET —
The honorees will be awarded during a dinner at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on Wednesday, May 15.
Guests wishing to purchase tickets to the dinner — whose proceeds will support Diocesan Youth Ministry — are asked to register online at dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards.
For more information, please call 401-277-2121.