Valley faithful welcome statue of Santo Toribio, saint of the immigrants

Statue of Santo Toribio in Indio through Wednesday morning

Valley faithful welcome statue of Santo Toribio, saint of the immigrants

INDIO, Calif. - As the border crisis unfolds, music and dozens of Catholic faithful welcomed the statue of Santo Toribio Romo, the saint of immigrants, to the Coachella Valley on Tuesday.

The statue, which resides in Jalisco, Mexico, will tour several Catholic churches in Southern California this month. It stopped at Our Lady Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Indio and will move to Rancho Cucamonga at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"It's beautiful. It's very beautiful," said Lupe Venegas, of Indio.

"For us, it's something that will help us grow in faith," said Laura Lopez, pastoral coordinator of Our Lady Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

The priest-martyr dedicated his life to serve others. A small portion of the saint's ankle bone sits in a glass enclosure against the chest of the 4-foot-tall wooden statue of Romo. Many Catholics believe he watches over immigrants and travelers.

"He's helped a lot of people on the border lines with food and water," said Venegas.

Neighbors wrote down their prayers and placing their hands on the relics, praying for peace beyond country borders. Many asked Saint Toribio to help meet their needs and safely guide the undocumented immigrants through the humanitarian crisis.

"We believe God is in us. Anything we can do all together to help each other and give a hand to someone, that's part of the miracle," said Lopez.

"I think the country all together can get through this and help the children," said Venegas.

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