By guest blogger, Jennifer Kraska (’04), Executive Director, Colorado Catholic Conference
A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern. ~Pope Francis, September 16, 2013
For nearly six years I have served as the Executive Director of the Colorado Catholic Conference. The Conference represents the three dioceses of Colorado on issues of public policy and legislation. While growing up my Mom would counsel my brothers, sisters and I that when you are in mixed company there are usually two subjects to avoid – politics and religion. I joke with my Mom that I must have been “selectively listening” during the times she offered that advice because today my job consistently involves talking with diverse groups of people about politics and religion!
I am blessed to have a job that I truly love; I get to present and advocate the Church’s position on a variety of important issues that have a tremendous impact on the community in Colorado. My job involves being a part of all aspects of the legislative process including: developing and amending legislation, testifying on behalf of or in opposition to legislation, lobbying legislators, developing and communicating the Church’s position on legislation and matters of public policy to disseminate to the Catholic community and encouraging all people of good will to become more involved in the public square.
For many people politics is a subject to be avoided at all costs, yet as Pope Francis recently reminded us “Politics, according to the Social Doctrine of the Church, is one of the highest forms of charity, because it serves the common good.” (September 16, 2013). It is my hope that, in my own small way, I am making a contribution to the common good guided by a spirit of charity and truth.
I graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2004 with a joint J.D. and M.A. in Catholic Studies and I am grateful to have received a faith-based education which prepared me, in many ways, to do the job I am doing today. During our law school graduation in 2004 each of the graduates were given a picture frame with the law school’s mission statement on one side and a picture of the law school on the other side. The frame sits on a book shelf in my office and is a continual reminder to me that the mission did not cease to become relevant to me once I graduated, but rather the mission to integrate “faith and reason in the search for truth through a focus on morality and social justice” is a life-long mission to be pursued and lived every day.