LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) - On Sunday, faithful parishioners gathered at Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna to celebrate Father Baker Day.
For parishioner Eileen Wutz, the celebration symbolizes a day of giving. "I was adopted from Father Baker and the Basilica is very special to me and everything that Father Baker did for us."
The commemorative mass marks the 77th anniversary of Father Nelson Baker's passing.
Monsignor Paul Burkard from Our Lady of Victory Basilica said, "The church usually honors saints on the day of their death rather than on the day of their birth; their birth into heaven in other words."
Before the mass began, about 50 local leaders and clergy marched into the Basilica.
While many paused to remember the life of the local hero, many are still waiting to see if Father Baker becomes a saint.
In 1999, Father Baker's body was exhumed and after 60 years, vials of his blood were still in liquid form.
If the Vatican determines there is no scientific explanation for Father Baker's blood remaining in liquid form, that could be considered a miracle.
The Vatican would only need to recognize one more miracle to make him a saint.
Msgr. Burkard says he believes the miracle will be confirmed. "They have doctors who are in Rome reading through the case. Our doctors here who worked on the case at the time it happened are telling us there's no medical explanation for it. Rome has to say that also, so as confident as I can be we're in good ground."
Until then, Msgr. Burkard says the parishioners can learn from the legacy Father Baker left behind. "He teaches us that we can be as kind and as charitable and as merciful as he tried to be in his lifetime."
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