The relic of a saint that immigrants pray to when they want to cross the United States/Mexico border safely made a stop today at a Los Angeles church.
The relic of Saint Toribio, a priest killed in 1928 during Mexico's Cristero War and canonized in 2000, made a stop at St. Marcellinus Church during its pilgrimage from Mexico.
"Many immigrants when they want to cross the border turn to him, and there have been so many testimonies of miracles that he has helped them, especially in moments of difficulties," said Father Martin Federico Rizo Soto, who travels with the relic.
He told Video News West that the saint has helped many cross the border without danger.
The relic, a bone from the left ankle of Santo Toribio, is encased in a 4-foot-5 statue of the saint, which was lent to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by the saint’s home chapel in Jalisco, Mexico, according to Angelus
Hundreds of migrants die every year while attempting to cross illegally from the United States into Mexico, most from heat stroke, dehydration and hypothermia.
Over the last year, the Border Patrol has reported an increase of unaccompanied children from Central America and the Southwest border crossing over into the United States, creating a strain on resources.
Many of the children have been crossing in Texas and some have been brought to Border Patrol facilities in California, including Murrieta, where protesters in recent days have turned away buses carrying detained immigrants.
The White House has announced plans to fast-track deportations and pay $116 million for the cost of transporting the unaccompanied children back home.
Many crossing the border are fleeing political instability and violence. Honduras has a murder rate of around 90 per 100,000 people, while the rate in Mexico is around 20 per 100,000, according to media reports. In the United States, it is under five per 100,000.
Humberto Ramos, parish life director at St. Marcellinus Church, said the relic pilgrimage is not meant to be political.
"It's inviting people of faith and good will to come and to see how we are all called to love God and our neighbor. Hopefully, that upswelling of faith will lead to some kind of a change," Ramos said.
Mostly, Ramos said people look to the saint for help, and it is a reminder for others to serve the needy.
"It's a lot of these narratives that give hope and there's a sense there is someone they can turn to," he said.
The relic will next head to Santiago de Compostela Catholic Church in Lake Forest.
—City News Service