BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - This is a monumental weekend for the Buffalo diocese as Father Baker draws closer to Sainthood.
Saturday's Mass of Thanksgiving commemorated Father Nelson Baker's next step toward Sainthood.
The Padre of the Poor's status was elevated to Venerable by Pope Benedict in January; the first in a three-step process to become a Saint.
The procedure to make Father Baker a Saint first started in 1987 when the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the initiation of Father Baker's cause for canonization.
Roberta Sullivan's husband was on the Canonization Committee before he passed in December. She says her husband's work has become the family legacy.
Sullivan said, "He went through and hand read probably 8,000 pages of documents that have gone to Rome for the whole thing. It just takes many, many years to make this happen, now we're almost there."
In the sermon, Bishop Edward Kmiec called Saturday a once in a lifetime celebration for someone who dedicated his lifetime to charity.
"To have a moment like this in our diocese, in this church, in this town, is just a wonderful and marvelous blessing on us all," said Bishop Kmiec.
>>>If you missed the Mass of Thanksgiving, check it out here !
Father Baker was a small man, standing only 5'4"; but was described as having a heart as big as the city of Lackawana. As he walked through these very streets, it was said his pockets were always full and ready to give. Whether it was food, a piece of candy, or money, no one was ever turned away from Father Baker.
The church must attribute two miracles to Father Baker before he can become a saint.
In 1999, Fr. Baker's body was exhumed, and after 60 years, vials of his blood were still in liquid form. If no scientific explanation is found, the Vatican could consider that a miracle; and Father Baker would become beatified. A second miracle would make him a Saint in the eyes of the church.
This whole process has taken years, and it's likely to take many more years, but Saturday was the day for the entire congregation to celebrate the progression of a man who helped so many.
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