Is Father Baker One Step Closer to Sainthood?

January 14, 2011 Updated Jan 17, 2011 at 8:12 AM EDT

By WKBW News

January 14, 2011 Updated Jan 17, 2011 at 8:12 AM EDT

Lackawanna, NY (WKBW-TV)
Pope Benedict the 16th authorized a number of decrees to the congregation for the causes of saints at the Vatican -- including a decree of heroic virtue for Father Nelson Baker.

A decree of heroic virtue is a one requirement for beatification. This puts Father Baker one step closer to sainthood.

Pope Benedict made the announcement today just as he announced that Pope John Paul the 2nd will be beatified on May 1st of this year.
Father Baker died in 1936 and his tomb is located at the church for parishioners to visit. He built Our Lady of Victory parish in Lackawanna. The parish and the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo have been working to canonize Father Baker since 1986.

Here's the official release from the Buffalo Diocese-

We rejoice today that in a meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the
Congregation of the Causes of Saints, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has declared the
heroic virtues of Servant of God Father Nelson Baker.
The decree is based on the recent vote taken by the cardinals and bishops of the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints who approved the information contained in the
"positio" on the life and holiness of Father Baker which we submitted at the time the
Vatican accepted his cause for consideration, and which we have added to and clarified over
the past few years. This is the next step in what we hope and pray will be the eventual
beatification and canonization of Father Baker.
Once we receive official documentation from the Vatican, Bishop Edward U. Kmiec,
bishop of Buffalo, and Msgr. Paul Burkard, pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in
Lackawanna and promoter of Father Baker’s cause for canonization will make an official
announcement at Our Lady of Victory Basilica. At that time, they will also provide details
of upcoming parish and diocesan celebrations to mark this important step in the
canonization cause.

EWN reporter John Borsa will have much more on this story tonight at 5 and 6.