North Beach parishioner Mary Croft receives flowers recognising her 40 years of service after singing at Mass for the final time on Easter Sunday. Photo: Supplied
One of the most admired musical voices in Perth’s northern suburbs has been heard for the last time.
Mary Croft, who has been in Our Lady of Grace Parish in North Beach for 55 years and sung in the Sunday roster for 40 years, gave her final performance on Easter Sunday.
Mrs Croft’s signature tune is One Day At a Time by Kris Kristofferson, because – as she says – that’s the way she lives her life.
It was therefore fitting that this was the recessional hymn she chose for her final Mass.
The vibrant octogenarian sang accompanied, before playing a recorded rendition of the same hymn by her late friend Marjorie Somers on the organ.
Explaining her decision, she said she started singing with Mrs Somers 40 years ago and wanted to finish singing the same way.
At the end of the Mass, Mrs Croft was presented with flowers and champagne in front of the congregation.
She said a few words, including that singing for the parish had been “life giving” and “such a privilege”.
She also thanked God the Father for being with her every step of the way, and the Holy Spirit for being her helper.
Mrs Croft has been around music her whole life and could sing as soon as she could talk.
However, she had never dreamt of singing for the Lord before being asked by then-parish priest Father James Mullins four decades ago, describing it as “a big responsibility”.
She said when she was singing at Mass, it felt like it was just her and Jesus in a sacred space, with no one else in the Church.
Although Mrs Croft wanted to finish singing when she turned 80 in February, she felt she couldn’t allow the celebrations of Lent and Easter to be without music.
The mother of four said it was important to walk away now because other parishioners, who had the musical talent, would not come forward until there was a space to fill.
North Beach parishioners will still be able to listen to Mrs Croft’s dulcet tones, thanks to a CD she recorded 20 years ago, which was unsurprisingly titled One Day at a Time.
The CD is sold at Gatto Christian Shop, Rich Harvest and through the parish, and has travelled via friends as far as Ireland, the United States and Africa.
Mrs Croft will also continue to perform at funerals with her daughter Karina, who plays the keyboard.
She has sung at hundreds of funerals all over WA, describing them as “the most sacred service we can offer”.
As for performing at Our Lady of Grace Parish, she admitted she would miss it terribly.
“Singing is who I am and who I’ve been for as long as I can remember,” she said.