Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Indio; Sacred Heart, Rancho Cucamonga and St. Edward, Corona hosted the relic during its tour of the Diocese.
“It was a surprise to see the relic here and to see so many people come to view them,” said Razo, parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Indio. “ I thought I was the only one with a devotion to St. Toribio.”
Razo and his wife, Ana Maria, were present when the relic was welcomed at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and returned to participate in Mass and see the relic once more. Like many Hispanics, Alfredo Razo knew about the saint and welcomed the chance to see the relic in person.
Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego celebrated a special Mass at the Indio parish in the presence of the relic on July 15. Shortly before the Mass, Bishop del Riego blessed a statue of St. Toribio, a new addition to the parish’s Plaza of Saints. The statue was donated by an anonymous parishioner.
“St. Toribio was a witness to Christ by accompanying the people, so that their God-given rights would be respected and honored,” Bishop del Riego said during his homily. “St. Toribio knew that people had the right to practice their faith and he advocated for that freedom of religion. “
A steady stream of faithful entered the churches throughout the day, wishing to view the relic and pray.
“It’s so beautiful having the relic here. It helps us to see the richness of our faith,” said Ruben Valencia, a parishioner from St. Francis of Assisi, La Quinta. “It’s especially fortunate that the relic is here seeing the current situation here. It’s like God showing us that he is with us.”
Many people who came to view the relic offered prayers of thanksgiving for being able to immigrate to the United States and also offered prayers for the children and families currently wishing to find a better life in the United States.
“We also ask for the intercession of St. Toribio Romo for our unaccompanied minors who are reaching our communities today,” Bishop del Riego said. “We ask for his intercession for the legislators, that they may gather together and reach a consensus that is both fair and compassionate.”
Laura Lopez, Pastoral Coordinator of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Indio, announced before Mass that the collection would be donated to the humanitarian efforts being organized by the Diocese and to the St. Toribio ministry efforts that support the touring of the relic.
Aside from the scheduled Masses, different prayer groups organized Rosaries and other prayer sessions, in the presence of the relic at the parishes. Father Martin Rizo-Soto, a representative from the Diocese of San Juan de Los Lagos, Jalisco, accompanied the relic on its Southern California tour and offered a reflection on the life of St. Toribio at each site.
Toribio was a priest during the Cristero Wars in the 1920s, when the Mexican government began persecuting the Catholic Church. Priests at that time became fugitives. He was murdered on February 25, 1928 by forces of the oppressive Mexican revolutionary government and was counted among the Martyrs of the Catholic Action Movement in Mexico killed between 1915 and 1928. St. Toribio Romo was canonized in 2000 by Pope Saint John Paul II, with 24 other Mexican martyrs.