The pupils of a Catholic Primary School in Hereford are involved in various activities to support a Catholic charity which is run in Our Lady’s Youth Centre in El Paso, Texas which lies on the Rio Grande just across the border from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. One of the charity workers is Laura Rocha (nee Hayes) a former pupil of the school who together with her husband is working with a very poor community in Mexico supporting families by providing food and medical care especially for the children. The rubbish dump at Juárez is the setting for a remarkable and ongoing miracle.
In 1964 Fr Richard Thomas, a Jesuit was appointed to El Paso in Texas. Around 1969/1970 he was profoundly touched by God and started charismatic prayer meetings in the parish. Sr. Maria Virginia, DC, was also an inspired leader. During one prayer meeting in 1972 they read the passage in Luke 14:12-14 which says, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relations or rich neighbours, in case they invite you back and so repay you. Now when you have a party, invite the poor… for they have no means to repay you and so you will be repaid when the upright rise again.” The prayer meeting decided that on Christmas day that year, 1972, they would provide a Christmas lunch to the poor who lived and worked in the dump in Juárez. The poor people in the dump used to separate the rubbish into various types, cans, bottles, cardboard etc and then sell it to a co-op which would in turn sell it on. They lived in the dump and worked 7 days a week for $5. The prayer group had prepared food for 125 people on Christmas Day. When they got to the dump Fr Richard and the group discovered that they had two labour unions or trade unions. One union could not go into the other’s area. Eventually Fr Richard got them to come together in one area for the food. Three hundred and fifty people turned up so Fr Richard explained that there was not enough food for everyone but they would share what they had. All 350 had enough food; the dump people took some food home and then came back for more, again and again. Afterwards, there was food left over, so much that Fr Richard and the prayer group took the leftovers to three orphanages.
According to Father Richard, he and those who were there have encountered the inexplicable multiplication of food on dozens of occasions — right up to today; at times aware of what is happening, in other cases noticing the miracle when they count up items in retrospect. In another example 350 cans of milk were brought to the poor, but every one of 500 who came actually got one. Sacks of flour have produced flour as if from an endless supply — to the shock of those handing it out. They have even taken measurements of what was removed and it simply doesn’t add up.
The miracle continues to this day.