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Father Baker Documentary Benefits Shrine

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Baker Victory Services in Lackawanna received a funding boost Wednesday. The head of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, Bishop Henry Mansell, delivered some of the proceeds generated through sales of a 90-minute documentary tape on the life of Father Nelson Baker.

Our Lady of Victory Basilica and Baker Victory Services are the results of Father Baker's dedication. The church is now a National shrine.

The Bishop handed to Pastor Msgr. Robert Wurtz a check of more than $4,000. Copies of "The Legacy of Victory: Remembering Father Baker" went on sale when the story aired on a local television station in March.

Msg. Wurtz said the money will be used to continue to carry out Father Baker's legacy.

"In caring for the youth that come to us that are homeless, under privileged or ill, and are seeking our care and services," said Msgr. Wurtz. "Certainly, this is a great gift through the tapes, which is a gift from Father Baker."

It appears Father Baker is on the road to sainthood.

But Bishop Mansell said two more major steps are needed for beatification and canonization.

The Vatican recognizes that Baker's blood is a sign of "divine faith" because it remains in the same condition as the day he died in 1936.

But Bishop Mansell said that's not enough -now they must prove two cures.

"People who recover from reportedly incurable disease, who have a complete recovery, and doctors testifying that there is no natural, scientific medical reason that would explain this," said Bishop Mansell. "It's obviously beyond our knowledge."

Msgr. Wurtz heads up the Baker Victory Services that helps more than 3,500 children and families each year.

He said if Father Baker is named a saint, it will "change the faith" of this region.

"I think everybody will fully realize the importance of the work this man began when he came here at the turn of the century, and the work that is continuing today," said Msgr. Wurtz.

Because we can say, very honestly, that we are doing the same as he did, except he took care of the youth of that day. We are taking care of the youth of today."

The Bishop said proving two cures by Father Baker are the only thing remaining in the sainthood process for the man once known as the "Padre of the Poor."