MONROE -- Msgr. Thomas F. Campion, 79, director of the Madison Diocese Apostolate to the Handicapped, died Friday, Nov. 12, 2010, at his home.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, Nov. 27, Monroe Public High School Gymnasium, Monroe, with Bishop William H. Bullock, Bishop Emeritus as celebrant and homilist.
Reaching out to the handicapped
Monsignor Campion, who was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Madison in 1957, was 10 years later asked by Bishop Cletus F. O’Donnell to undertake a particular ministry — reaching out to those who suffer from physical and mental handicaps. The Diocese of Madison Apostolate to the Handicapped had, at the end of October 2010, just completed its 43rd year under Monsignor Campion’s direction.
Bishop Robert C. Morlino, current Bishop of Madison, encourages all the faithful to pray for Monsignor Campion and the repose of his soul. “For so many years, Monsignor Campion was the face of the Church’s outreach to those who are differently-abled. With Monsignor’s passing we certainly feel a tremendous loss, but we realize, perhaps more than ever, how he has inspired countless women and men to do their part in reaching out to see the tremendous dignity and worth of every human being.”
Many good works
Perhaps the most outward example of the Apostolate to the Handicapped’s work in the community is the weekly broadcast of a morning Mass on Madison’s WISC Channel 3. But the ministry also fostered community with area-wide events and strove to build awareness of the needs of women and men with handicaps over the years.
“The good work which Monsignor Campion has overseen for so many years shall continue,” Bishop Morlino said. “Without Monsignor Campion, the apostolate will look different in its public face, but it is the very same Jesus Christ who shines through.”
The diocese looks forward to working with Channel 3 and people throughout the diocese to continue these great works, which Monsignor Campion did for so long.
Bill Cross, who has been involved with the Apostolate to the Handicapped since the beginning, said, “It’s been a good, joyful journey. The success of the program was his (Monsignor Campion’s) ability to involve young people to give of themselves and share. He’s built a solid foundation.”
Many young people were involved in the apostolate as servers, lectors, and commentators on the weekly televised Mass and at the annual days for the handicapped held at Christmas and Easter and in summer in Wisconsin Dells.
The apostolate also provides over 500 wheelchairs and walkers at no cost to disabled people throughout the diocese with the help of the Knights of Columbus.
“He never had a parish, but his parish was the disabled and the young people,” said Cross of Monsignor Campion.