Saint Toribio Romo Gonzalez, also called “the holy smuggler,” was a priest killed for failing to abandon his church post and duties. He was born on 16th April 1900 to a peasant family in Santa Ana de Guadalupe, Jalisco, Mexico. He had two siblings, a brother who later became a priest and a sister.
Saint Toribio Gonzalez was ordained a priest at 21 years and served as parish priest in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, Tequila Jalisco. He later served as parish priest in Sayula, Cuquio, Tuxpan, Yahuatica, and Agua, Caliente.
Government soldiers assassinated St. Toribio Gonzalez on 25th February 1928 for refusing to abandon his clerical duties. The Mexican government had enacted the “Calles Law” that ordered all Catholic priests to leave their posts, leading to the Cristero war. The war led to the killing of many Catholic priests and congregants, including St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez.
Saint Toribio Gonzalez maintained a hard stance against emigration to the United States. His dedication to anti-emigration efforts went largely unnoticed until 1992, when he was venerated and beatified and later canonized in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.
· St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez was only ordained as a priest under a special exemption.
· Many illegal immigrants claimed that St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez helped them cross the border.
· The saint’s only request to those he helped was that they ask for St. Toribio Romo González in Santa Ana de Guadalupe when they came back to Mexico.
· St. Toribio Romo Gonzalez is the patron saint for immigrants.
· St. Toribio only came into the limelight when several immigrants he had miraculously helped tried to find him, only to discover the priest died a long time ago in the Cristero war.