St. Luke's Mission of Mercy is mourning the loss of its co-director and co-founder. Norm Paolini has died. He was 71.
Paolini co-founded St. Luke's with Amy Betros in 1994 as an independent mission in the Roman Catholic tradition to meet the basic needs of Buffalo's inner city. The mission has always survived on volunteers and the donations of individuals.
Paolini was a researcher at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, while Betros ran a restaurant called Amy's Place when they decided to buy a vacant complex of buildings between Sycamore Street and Walden Avenue from the Diocese of Buffalo.
In addition to saying mass, the mission serves free lunch and dinner to all who come to its kitchen. It provides clothes and used furniture out of its Mission Hall. Housing is provided for the homeless, plus two residences provide structured programs for men with addictions and high-school-aged young men.
St. Luke's says more details will follow as service plans are finalized.