Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities has new name, expands work started in 1967 Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
apostolate to handicapped staff
Msgr. Larry Bakke, right, continues as director of the newly named Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities. The Apostolate’s new associate director is Deacon Jim Hoegemeier, left, and the new administrative assistant is Kellie Raddell. (Catholic Herald photo/Pam Payne)

MADISON — The newly named Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities in the Diocese of Madison builds on the vision of its first director while expanding its outreach to include more fully persons with disabilities in the life of the Church in the diocese.

Msgr. Larry Bakke, the current director, announced the new name and two new staff members on the weekly television Mass broadcast on Sunday, Nov. 12, on WISC-TV.

Established in 1967

He noted that the former Apostolate to the Handicapped and the TV Mass began in 1967 under the direction of the late Msgr. Thomas Campion, who died six years ago in November of 2010.

“We remember him with great love,” said Monsignor Bakke, saying Monsignor Campion emphasized that “all of you matter; we are all God’s children.”

Monsignor Bakke was appointed director of the Apostolate in 2011, while also serving as pastor of St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Monroe and Brodhead, a parish with a school and large staff.

Office moves, staff added

While Monsignor Bakke will remain in Monroe, the office of the Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities has been moved to the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Center at Holy Name Heights in Madison. A full-time associate director and administrative assistant have been hired to work in the Madison office.

“This will enable the Apostolate to effectively facilitate the Church’s attention to and presence on both the diocesan and parish levels for people with disabilities,” said Monsignor Bakke. “The Apostolate will work more closely with other diocesan offices in the Diocese of Madison, including Catholic Charities.”

Named as the new associate director is Deacon Jim Hoegemeier, who was ordained by Bishop Robert C. Morlino as a permanent deacon on July 24 of this year.

Deacon Hoegemeier previously served as executive director of the Wisconsin Disability Association, formerly known as Arc-Wisconsin, which provides assistance to people with developmental and related disabilities and their families. He held that position for almost 16 years.

He and his wife, Janet, live in Wautoma. He also serves as a deacon at All Saints Parish in Berlin.

Named as administrative assistant for the office is Kellie Raddell. A member of St. Paul University Catholic Center in Madison, she was a project manager at Epic in Verona prior to taking this position.

Raising awareness of disabilities

Said Deacon Hoegemeier, “Under the direction of Monsignor Larry, Kellie and I look forward to building on the solid foundation of the Apostolate by actively reaching out to people with disabilities, family members, providers, as well as volunteers and staff from parishes, schools, and diocesan offices and agencies, in an effort to better recognize and meet the spiritual needs of people touched by any type of disability and their families.”

Deacon Hoegemeier noted that the term “disability” relates to any condition that may be a barrier to full participation in the life of the Church, such as mobility limitations, cognitive impairments, emotional conditions, hearing or visual impairments, and medical conditions. The Apostolate is a ministry to disabled persons and also provides spiritual support for the elderly and homebound.

The Apostolate will continue to coordinate diocesan events for people with disabilities, such as the August Day at the Dells and the December Advent/Christmas celebration held in Monroe. It will also coordinate the weekly taping of the TV Mass at the WISC-TV studio in Madison.

It will work with and assist all diocesan offices to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all activities. This will include:

• Partnering with Catholic Charities Madison to address the spiritual needs of people served throughout the Diocese of Madison.

• Serving on the Diocesan Building Commission to insure accessible facilities on the diocesan and parish properties.

• Serving as a resource to the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis in regard to up-to-date catechetical materials, special equipment, and other items for people with disabilities.

• Consulting with the diocesan Office of Worship in regard to the inclusion of people with disabilities in diocesan liturgies.

The Apostolate will also maintain contact with the National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities and other relevant national Catholic organizations.

Focus on parishes

In its focus on parishes, the Apostolate will support and provide resources to pastors and parish personnel to ensure the full participation in all parish liturgies and activities by people with disabilities.

The Apostolate will also assist with the recruitment and training of parish volunteers in ministries to, with, for, and by people with disabilities at the parish level.

It will also work as needed to raise awareness about disabilities throughout the diocese.

The Apostolate has funds available to the parishes, schools, and organizations of the Diocese of Madison that wish to provide supportive services and/or create accessible facilities that speak to the Gospel spirit that all are welcome, and to invite all people to gather and participate in the life of the parish, school, camp, or program.

For more information about the Apostolate, call 608-821-3050, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or go to www.apostolatetothehandicapped.com