Jennifer Kraska has been appointed the new executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, the Annapolis-based conference announced in an Oct. 21 news release.
Kraska has served as executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference for the past 12 years, and brings extensive experience representing the public policy positions of the Catholic Church on a broad range of issues, the release noted.
Kraska holds a law degree, as well as a master of arts in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, her native state. She has served as past president of the National Association of State Catholic Conference Directors, as well as on numerous committees for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Maryland Catholic Conference is the public-policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops. Dioceses whose territory includes parts of Maryland include the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington.
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the Maryland Catholic Conference, noted that the bishops of Maryland’s three (arch)dioceses were impressed with Kraska’s grasp of issues and ability to engage diverse communities.
“We are delighted to have a person of Jenny’s caliber and expertise leading the work of the conference and are confident she will quickly earn the respect of her new colleagues in Annapolis,” Archbishop Lori said in the release.
Kraska’s collaborative approach distinguished her career in Denver politics, the release said, where she is known for her ability to work “across the aisle” on numerous issues. She was instrumental, along with leaders from other faith traditions, in creating a series of “Faithful Tuesdays,” which brought together legislators and faith leaders across a broad spectrum of perspectives to discuss and advocate for issues of common interest.
“I believe the great success of Faithful Tuesdays is in providing a witness, amidst a divisive political environment, of collaboration, and the ability to see past some very serious differences to focus on the good that can be accomplished when we speak with a united voice on issues where there is agreement,” Kraska said in an article in Colorado Politics.
Kraska succeeds Jennifer L. Briemann.