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Our Lady of Victory Shrine and Basilica celebrates 100 years

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 17:09:59-04

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WKBW) — This week marks 100 years since the dedication of the cornerstone at Our Lady of Victory Shrine and Basilica.

It is a place of peace, prayer and architectural wonder.

On August 14th, 1921, Bishop William Tuner blessed the cornerstone here. In his presence was Father Nelson Baker, who built this parish.

"He built this building with a handwritten letter campaign, writing to people all across the country to get them to send in money," said Fern Adams of West Seneca.

"Father Baker was born and raised in Buffalo," said Monsignor David LiPuma. "He was a businessman himself that's kind of - after the Civil War, he fought in the Civil War actually. When he came out he built a business, and as part of that business he wanted to give back."

Monsignor LiPuma said Father Baker changed young peoples' lives for the better.

"He grew the orphanage, he grew the Protectory for troubled boys, he built the infant home for unwed mothers, he built the hospital," he said.

For David Adams of West Seneca, the Basilica bears a special meaning for him; the funeral service for his daughter was held here.

"When I walked in I was just blown away by the way it looked and just stunned. And my daughter was always traveling to Europe and so on, so this was kind of her type of pf place that she liked, so it was fitting to have the services in a place like this. The place is just spectacular," he said.

The Basilica's five-year Centennial Celebration starts with mass on Saturday from 4:30 to 6 followed by the blessing of the cornerstone.