By Msgr. Michael Sexton, Contributions by Ann Lanzi and Mary Dillard
It is hard to imagine the One Voice without Sally Crockett. For nineteen years she has served as managing editor at the newspaper. Before that she served for twenty-nine years as manager/editorial assistant.
For Sally it was a labor of love. She has served us all with uncommon dedication and a deep sense of loyalty to her Church.
She was trained in the art of journalism under the legendary Msgr. Frank Wade, editor of the Catholic Week for many years. Her hiring was featured in the Jan. 11, 1963 issue of the Catholic Week using her baptismal name, "Mary Alice Crockett joins the paper this week as assistant bookkeeper. She becomes the second John Carroll High School graduate to come to work for the paper in two years. Miss Crockett graduated in the class of 1962."
She was influenced too by Father John Igoe who served as editor at the One Voice for twenty-nine years. In the early years of the One Voice, Ann Lanzi joined the ranks. Sally taught her how to use the typesetter and other equipment to generate the weekly issues. Sometimes problems arose in getting the national Catholic news by teletype or equipment would fail making a regular eight hour day became a ten or twelve hour day. However, Sally never complained and was always willing to stay as long as necessary to get the paper ready for the printer.
Remembering the Father Igoe years, Father Ray Dunmyer recalled, "I have worked with Sally on many occasions with materials for the One Voice. She was always very gracious, and she was most knowledgeable and helpful. Two major efforts come to mind that Sally facilitated for the One Voice. When I served as Vocations Director, I had an idea for a 12 page vocation supplement. I approached Father Igoe and Sally with the idea, and both were open to the possibility. It required a lot of work, and Sally did most of that work. The result was a 12 page vocation supplement for the Oct. 12, 1984 issue. That would not have been possible without Sally’s diligent efforts."
Dunmyer continued on about the second project, "Later, when I served as Diocesan Director of Campus Ministry, I had an idea for a two page lay-out on Catholic Campus Ministry in the Diocese of Birmingham. Through the kindness of Father Igoe and Sally, that material on Catholic Campus Ministry was published in the One Voice on August 13, 1993."
In 2000, Bishop David Foley named Sally the managing editor and she has guided the paper ever since.
She was the most invisible of editors. She declined the weekly opportunity to write an editorial. Not for her to opine or pontificate as some editors are wont to do. She led her staff in the same way - quietly. She let those under her leadership spread their creative wings in service to the Church never wanting credit.
She was a faithful scribe and humble servant in the service of the Church which she loves. She was always ready to learn any technology that would help meet printing deadlines and get the most up-to-date Catholic news to readers. Sally was instrumental in making the work environment pleasant and congenial. She set the perfect example of love for the Church and dedication to her job.
She was an invaluable resource in retrieving parish histories from the extensive files in the One Voice office. She was never too busy to track down an obscure detail or fish out a forgotten photograph.
Week after week she chronicled the happenings of parish life in parishes large and small. She had an eye especially for the rural parish and the small parish. Their story was important too.
Speaking of Sally's dedication, Father Joe Culotta said, "Sally Crockett's name, face and voice has become synonymous with the One Voice. So many times she has helped me and the parishes that I've served place photos, articles and advertisements in the diocesan weekly paper. Sally was always willing to assist us and seemed to naturally understand why the materials were so important to us, even when we were late and beyond the deadline date for publication. The service that Sally has provided for our parishes, and for so many years, is remarkable."
Upon hearing of Sally's decision to retire, heartfelt messages from around the diocese were sent. Father Culotta expressed his gratitude saying, "I'm grateful for Sally and wish her and her coworkers at the One Voice a smooth transition and a future full of hope." Father Dunmyer offered his gratitude and the gratitude of the Diocese of Birmingham to Sally for her many years of faithful service. "I congratulate her on her retirement. Sally has been a wonderful minister of communications for the Diocese of Birmingham, and she will be greatly missed," he wrote. Bishop Robert Baker, publisher of the One Voice, said of Sally, "How grateful all in the Diocese of Birmingham are for Sally’s devoted service for a total of 56 years! She was faithfully at her desk each week of publication. Our gratitude and our prayers go to Sally for her dedication to the Lord and to His Church through our wonderful diocesan newspaper, the One Voice."
We shall miss her reassuring presence and quiet competence and grace-filled ways around the diocesan offices. We wish her pleasant days and sweet retirement.