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Annual Argentine pilgrimage to patron saint of jobs draws thousands as country struggles

  • APTOPIX Argentina Employment Saint-1.jpg

    Angelito Ribero, poses for a photo dressed as 'Gauchito Gil,' a folk saint revered by Argentines, outside the San Cayetano church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. 'Gauchito Gil,' was an 1800's outlaw who became a mystical symbol of bravery; stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Thousands of people visit the San Cayetano church, the patron saint of work, amid tough economic times in the South American country. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (The Associated Press)

  • Argentina Employment Saint-2.jpg

    A woman attends a mass outside San Cayetano church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Thousands of people visit San Cayetano, the patron saint of work, amid tough economic times in the South American country. Argentina, which is in a recession and has among the highest rates of inflation in the world, is facing new uncertainty after it was forced into default by a legal dispute with U.S. investors. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (The Associated Press)

  • Argentina Employment Saint-3.jpg

    A woman offers images of the saint attached to wheat stalks, to pilgrims outside San Cayetano church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Thousands of people visit San Cayetano church, the patron saint of work, amid tough economic times in the South American country. The wheat stalk represents the providing of bread and is a staple gift to give to someone who isn’t having the best luck in the world of work, or to just give to somebody as a good-will gesture. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (The Associated Press)

  • Argentina Employment Saint-4.jpg

    A woman kneels as she enters San Cayetano church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Pilgrims flock to show their dedication to the saint widely known as ‘San Ca’ – the patron of labour – and ask for three things in particular: Bread, work and peace. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (The Associated Press)

  • Argentina Employment Saint-5.jpg

    Stamps with the image of San Cayetano sit on top a bag beside people in line to enter San Cayetano church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Thousands of people visit San Cayetano's church, the patron saint of work, amid tough economic times in the South American country. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko) (The Associated Press)

An annual pilgrimage in Argentina to the shrine of the patron saint of work has drawn thousands of Roman Catholics as the country faces difficult economic times.

Thousands of people waited to pray and give thanks Thursday at the Roman Catholic Church of San Cayetano in the capital of Buenos Aires. Many clutched stalks of wheat adorned with images of Saint Cayetano, a 16th century Italian priest who is also considered the patron saint of wheat and prosperity.

Parish priest Jorge Torres said the annual pilgrimage resonates with people in Argentina because of the tough times many have experienced in recent years.

Argentina was forced into default last week by a legal dispute with U.S. investors. That has created uncertainty for an economy already in recession

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