Fr. Rick Thomas, S.J.

an exemplary life

A Poor Priest for the Poor

His story

Father Rick Thomas, S.J. was born in Seffner, Florida in 1928 and entered the Jesuit order in 1945 after attending Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida. He was ordained to the priesthood in San Francisco in 1958.

From 1964 until his death, Father Thomas was the Executive Director of Our Lady’s Youth Center in El Paso, Texas. Under Father Thomas’s leadership, Our Lady’s Youth Center grew to include ministries to the poor in different areas of Juarez, Mexico, including food banks, medical and dental clinics, prison and mental hospital ministries, and schools. Dedicated volunteers from both sides of the border continue to run the various ministries.

In 1975 Father Thomas started The Lord’s Ranch east of Vado, New Mexico. Over the years the Ranch has provided recreation and rehabilitation to needy youth, housed hundreds of visitors from all over the world, run retreats for young and old, and is home to KJES International Shortwave Radio Station broadcasting to every continent.


“As soon as you make genuine contact with the poor you’re going to have a conversion — unless you are extremely hardhearted. You will see that they are the same as you.”

Fr. Rick Thomas, S.J.