Radiate is blessed to be sponsoring a tour of the relics of Santo Toribio Romo in L.A. July 7-20. Who is Santo Toribio? You may have seen his iconic image on a scapular or in street graffiti. St. Toribio’s popularity is growing fast in the Catholic Church, and it’s mainly because of immigration. Toribio is seen as a friend and intercessor for migrants and the undocumented. That’s why it’s fitting that Toribio is coming to L.A. in the weeks leading up to the Immigration Mass on July 20.
The interesting thing is that his life on earth didn’t have much to do with immigration. Toribio was a priest during the Cristero Wars in the 1920s, when the Mexican government began persecuting the Church and priests like Toribio became fugitives. He was martyred just for being a priest! This is why Toribio was canonized in 2000 by Pope Saint John Paul II, with 24 other Mexican martyrs. But that isn’t the main reason so many are devoted to him today.
Check this out: Over the last 40 years, there have been reports of a man appearing to migrants who had run into trouble while headed north. He is said to offer food and water and to lead the lost to safety. Many recognize the man to be none other than St. Toribio. This is why so many are devoted to Toribio as a friend and protector.
This tour of Toribio’s relics is certain to bring out big crowds of those who want to thank him for his help. But maybe Toribio wants to do some thanking of his own. They say that behind every saint you will find a community. Part of Toribio’s community was his sister Maria “Quica” Romo. His priesthood and even his sainthood are in large part thanks to her!
As a child, Toribio was moved to be a priest. But to enter seminary you had to be educated, and education was not accessible to poor families like Toribio’s. Toribio’s older sister Quica broke off her engagement to be married and went to work making tortillas and doing laundry so that Toribio could go to school. The school was in another town and so Quica moved with Toribio and cared for him during his school years. When Toribio went off to the minor seminary, Quica became like a mother to all the seminarians. When Toribio was assigned to the town of Tequila, which was a virtual death warrant, Quica went with him. She was there when he was martyred. The Mexican martyrs are famous for shouting “Via Cristo Rey!” before they were killed, but in Toribio’s case it was Quica who shouted it as he died in her arms.
What a story! And yet we all know people like Quica. Because we are all immigrants, our ancestors or maybe our parents made big sacrifices in coming to this country and struggling to provide a better life for their families. The tour of St. Toribio’s relics will be an opportunity to remember all the ways God has blessed us through the sacrifices of others.
Below is the list of the parishes the relics will visit on the tour. Click on any of them to get more details on the specific events in that parish. See you soon, and God love ya!