The Vatican II Awards were established in 1991 to honor men, women and young adults who exemplify the Catholic Church’s vision set forth in the Second Vatican Council. These individuals have been selected by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki to be recognized for their service to the Body of Christ in southeastern Wisconsin. While an awards ceremony is typically held annually in October, this year’s festivities are postponed until such a time as it is safe to gather such a large group.
Service in Administration — Gail Kraig
Parish consultant for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Principal, teacher, choir director, cheerleading coach. Director of Parish Operations for Holy Family Parish in Fond du Lac, a faith community with more than 15,000 members.
Gail Kraig has taken on a few different titles in the Catholic Church over the last four decades, but from her point of view, the role has remained essentially the same.
“I have always been described as a ‘fixer’ in the work that I have done,” said Kraig, who is set to retire from Holy Family in 2021. “I love to take on difficult problem situations that require incredibly hard work and determination in order to eliminate the challenges and problems.”
Together with her husband Jeffrey, a dentist, Kraig has two daughters and four grandchildren. Together, the couple are longtime pillars of the Fond du Lac community, where they have lived since 1977.
Kraig graduated summa cum laude from Dominican College in Racine in 1973 with a degree in history, education and music. In 2008, she received her master’s degree in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University. Most of her career has been spent in Catholic education; she has been a music teacher at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary School and St. Mary and St. Joseph schools in Fond du Lac, and later taught sixth grade at Fond du Lac Area Catholic Educational System (FACES). She served as the director of development at St. Mary’s Springs High School and as a teacher in the theology department, while also coaching cheerleading and directing the music liturgy choir.
In 2002, Kraig became the parish consultant for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for Dodge, Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties. In 2008, she was hired as the principal of St. Mary School in West Bend and, in 2010, took on the challenge of becoming principal at Catholic East Elementary, where she led a team that significantly increased enrollment and financial donations over the course of four years.
She became the first director of advancement at Holy Family in 2014. Four years later, her role was expanded, and she now serves as director of parish operations.
During her time at Holy Family, she created and managed a campaign that saw the completion of a 1,200-square-foot stained glass window in the church, a project that had been 13 years in the making. Under Kraig’s leadership, the campaign raised more than $600,000 in less than three years.
Additionally, she has formed a marketing team, revitalized and formed a new Stewardship Commission, leads the committee for the development of the courtyard at Holy Family Church, and created and manages the Holy Family Annual Gala.
“I truly enjoy finding ways to engage others in creating new and exciting opportunities for growth and systemic change,” said Kraig. “My mantra has always been to strive to meet people wherever they are in their faith life journey and then, without judgment, do whatever I can to bring them closer to Jesus Christ.”