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Costs rising in decadeslong campaign to make a saint of NY's beloved 'Padre of the Poor'

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    In this undated photo of a painting provided by Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity in Buffalo, N.Y., Father Nelson Baker is shown. The ongoing effort to elevate to sainthood the beloved Buffalo-area priest known as the “Padre of the Poor” has required patience and deep pockets. Expenses have approached $100,000, in an effort that has exceeded 25 years and fundraising continues. (AP Photo/Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity) NO SALESThe Associated Press

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    In this undated photo provided by Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity in Buffalo, N.Y., Father Nelson Baker is seen with some of the children he served. The ongoing effort to elevate the beloved Buffalo-area priest to sainthood has so far cost close to $100,000 and has taken over 25 years. (AP Photo/Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity) NO SALESThe Associated Press

The ongoing effort to elevate to sainthood a beloved New York priest known as the "Padre of the Poor" has required patience and deep pockets. Over 25 years, expenses have approached $100,000, and fundraising continues.

Even supporters of the Rev. Nelson Baker acknowledge that would probably have made the humble priest uncomfortable.

But experts say such canonization expenses aren't unusual and are gaining new attention in the "poor church for the poor" envisioned by Pope Francis.

The Vatican's saint-making office this month says it's placing a cap of sorts on expenses so less well-funded causes won't be overlooked.

Baker supporters say legal and other costs are worth it because the ongoing attention draws support for the social service agencies that operate in his name.

The Buffalo-area priest died in 1936.

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