|Fr. Lawrence Craig, pastor of
Assumption BVM Parish on
Chicago’s west side for over 20 years, died suddenly at home on
Saturday, June 10. He was 59 years old.
Fr. Craig was the founder and director of Kolbe House Catholic Prison Ministry where he ministered since 1983.
Born in Chicago, Fr. Craig graduated from Quigley Preparatory Seminary and from the University of St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein/Seminary. He was ordained in 1973 and served as assistant pastor of St. Sylvester Parish in northwest Chicago from 1973 to 1978. For the next five years, he served as assistant pastor of Providence of God Parish on the west side.
In 1976, Fr. Craig began work in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center as a chaplain. This marked the beginning of a kind and caring ministry to not only the youth who found themselves at odds with the law, but to adult prisoners and their families. In 1983, he founded and became director of Kolbe House, a Catholic prison ministry that provides direct services education and advocacy for all those who are currently, have been or are likely to be detained or incarcerated in the correctional facilities of Cook and Lake counties.
A year later, in 1984, he was named pastor of Assumption B.V.M. Parish at 24 th and California, a position he held until the time of his death.
His classmate, Fr. Jim Kaczorowski, pastor of Queen of Angels Parish, describes Fr. Craig as a generous person who always found time to talk with people and who did not often take a day off. “He lived the Gospel passage in Matthew 25,” Fr. Kaczorowski said, “that says, ‘whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.’”
He was class president at Quigley and for years was the organizer of annual reunions of former Quigley classmates. “He was a down-to-earth person whose leadership style was more behind the scenes, never taking public credit for his private acts of kindness,” Fr. Kazorowski said.
Interment will be at St. Mary Cemetery in Evergreen Park. Fr. Craig is survived by his mother, Marie, two brothers, Tom and Bob, and a sister, Kathy, (Sr. Mary Kathleen, O.S.F.).