Statue honoring Msgr. Campion to be unveiled in Monroe Print
Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

Editor's View by Mary C. Uhler

On Sunday, June 6, a statue recognizing Msgr. Thomas F. Campion, founder and director of the Apostolate to the Handicapped in the Diocese of Madison, will be unveiled and blessed by Bishop William H. Bullock, bishop emeritus, in a 2 p.m. ceremony in the courtyard of St. Victor Church in Monroe.

As part of the celebration of St. Victor's 150th anniversary, the statue honors an important part of the parish's life for nearly 40 years. Monsignor Campion brought the Apostolate to the Handicapped with him in 1971, when he came to Monroe. The priest served as chaplain at St. Clare Hospital and the Monroe Clinic for many years along with directing the Apostolate.

Campion's Champions

Many people at St. Victor Parish have been involved in the Apostolate to the Handicapped's mission of caring for the disabled and elderly. The volunteers began to be called "Campion's Champions," with T-shirts bearing that name. These volunteers have helped decorate the Monroe High School gym along with preparing and serving meals for Christmas and Easter celebrations.

Many young people from the parish have been servers, lectors, and commentators at holiday Masses and on the weekly television Mass which airs on WISC-TV.

Fr. Mike Klarer, the current pastor of St. Victor Parish, said his own vocation was nurtured by his involvement with the Apostolate to the Handicapped. He has been involved with the program since he was a senior in high school and during his seminary studies.

Although Monsignor Campion (also known as TC to his many friends) tried to discourage the erecting of the statue, plans went ahead anyway. The statue was donated by Skip Brennan, a member of St. Victor Parish. The statue was sculpted by Jerry McKenna of Boerne, Texas.

Award-winning sculptor

McKenna is known for creating the statue of Barry Alvarez at Camp Randall in Madison. He was named the 2003 Sports Sculptor of the Year by the All-America Football Foundation in recognition of his 17 portrait busts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He has also sculpted religious art pieces for churches in the United States. In 1987 he was chosen to make the Processional Cross for the Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in San Antonio, Texas.

His early fame came bronze portraits of Air Force leaders. McKenna himself is a former Air Force officer and decorated Vietnam veteran.

Fitting tribute

This statue is indeed a fitting tribute to Monsignor Campion and "Campion's Champions." It is appropriate to have this statue placed on the grounds of St. Victor Parish, since so many people from St. Victor and the Monroe community have been involved in helping the elderly and disabled for so many years.

We thank them and wish them many more years of volunteering and God's blessings on the work of Monsignor Campion and his dedicated crew of volunteers.