Live streaming of funeral 18 June (3.30 pm Italian time): http://live.focolare.org
In recent years he lived quietly in his focolare at Rocca di Papa, together with other first focolarini: Marco Tecilla, Bruni Venturini and Giorgio Marchetti, who had been his travelling companions for a long time.
He was a key figure in the history of the Focolare. He was only 20 years old in 1949 when Chiara Lubich asked him to share the responsibility of the new Movement with her. In fact Chiara always saw Pasquale Foresi as someone with a unique design in the development of the Focolare Movement, the design of incarnating the charism of unity in concrete ways. For this reason she considered him, together with Igino Giordani, a co-founder of the Movement.
In 1949, when he met Chiara and the Movement, Pasquale Foresi was a young man looking for his path in life. He felt called to the priesthood and studied at a seminary in Pistoia, Italy, and the Almo Collegio Capranica in Rome. He recalled: “I was happy and content with my choice, but at a certain point I had second thoughts. It was then that I got to know the Focolare Movement. In the members of the Movement I found an absolute faith in the Catholic Church and, at the same time, a radical gospel life. So I understood that my place was there, and soon the idea of the priesthood returned.”
He was the first focolarino to be ordained to the priesthood, followed by others who also felt called to serve the Movement in this way.
Pasquale saw in what was being done by Chiara Lubich and the first group of people around her “a spring of gospel life gushing forth in the Church” and he began an association with them that would lead him to make a fundamental contribution to the Movement’s development, as one of Chiara Lubich’s closest collaborators.
Referring to his main tasks in the Movement, he wrote: “As a priest I was responsible for our first contacts with the Holy See. Another particular task, over the years, was following the Movement’s growth and development throughout the world and working with Chiara on writing the various Statutes. I also helped start up and follow some of the Movement’s centres and works, such as the ‘Mariapolis Centre’ at Rocca di Papa which runs courses for the members; the little town of witness at Loppiano in Italy; the Citta Nuova publishing house in Rome, and other works that developed in different parts of the world over time.”
But there is one area of Fr Foresi’s life alongside Chiara that perhaps represents his specific contribution to the development of the Movement better than others. He explained: “It’s in the logic of things that every new spiritual current, every great charism, has an effect on culture at all levels. If you look at history you see that this has always been the case, influencing architecture, the arts, ecclesial and social structures, the various fields of human knowledge and especially theology.”
In fact he spoke frequently and published numerous articles and books on the theology of Chiara’s charism and on its social and spiritual dimensions, authoritatively highlighting its newness in the context of both life and thought. His words contain “keen analysis, breadth of vision and optimism for the future made possible by the wisdom that derives from a strong and new charismatic experience, as well by the depths of light and love, humility and faithfulness that only God can achieve in a person’s life”. (Taken from the Preface to “Conversations” questions and answers on the spirituality of unity).
The Focolare Movement throughout the world remembers him with immense gratitude.
See also: Press release