LOS ANGELES - Immigrants are flocking to churches in Southern California to see a wooden statue of a saint cherished by border-crossers who make the perilous journey to the United States.

The 4-foot-tall statue of Santo Toribio Romo Gonzalez was flown from the Mexican state of Jalisco, and is making stops in churches in three California counties, the Los Angeles Times reported last week.

Many immigrants say Romo Gonzalez has appeared to them during difficult moments on their journeys north, with some carrying a photo of the saint in their wallets.

Romo Gonzalez was a priest killed during a 1928 religious uprising and was canonized 14 years ago.

His statue will be received at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles today.

In his Mexican hometown of Santa Ana de Guadalupe, tens of thousands of pilgrims arrive weekly to pay tribute to the saint's bones, which are kept in a small casket. Locals peddle saint-themed key chains and figurines to tourists. Businesses ranging from a pharmacy to an ice cream shop bear his name.

In the United States, immigrants, especially those from Mexico, have come to cherish the saint.