Fr. Tom Forrest C.Ss.R. 1927-2018

Author: Kristina Cooper

Picture: Gloria TV

Fr. Tom Forrest C.Ss.R. 1927-2018

Kristina Cooper remembers Redemptorist priest Fr. Tom Forrest, one of the great, early pioneers of Catholic Charismatic Renewal, who died on 16 July 2018, aged 90.

A tough New Yorker, Fr. Tom's energy and drive and passion for Christ made him a great preacher, evangelist and organiser.

A missionary priest, he worked in Puerto Rico and also in the Dominican Republic during the time of the bloody persecutions of the dictator Rafael Trujillo, where thousands of Haitans were butchered on the border and where he fearlessly stood up to Trujillo's soldiers.

In 1971 he became involved in the Charismatic Renewal and turned his parish in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, into a worldwide centre for the CCR.

Ever the entrepreneur, he bought a local motel and turned it into a retreat centre, where he preached three weekends every month to promote the CCR.

In 1978 he was elected director of the International Office for Catholic Charismatic Renewal (forerunner of ICCRS) first in Brussels and then in Rome.

Preacher, Author and Visionary

Over his lifetime, he travelled to and preached in more than 120 countries, whilst his articles and books on evangelisation and the Charismatic Renewal have been translated into many languages.

He was responsible for organising the first two worldwide retreats for priests in 1984 and 1990, which had a huge influence, and were attended by 11,000 priests in total.

Ever the ardent evangelist with huge vision, in 1983 he shared with Lutheran Rev. Lary Christenson and Anglican Fr. Michael Harper his vision for a worldwide united Christian decade of evangelisation leading up to the millennium.

They gladly took this up and the ecumenical vision of evangeliation, renewal and unity led to the organisation of several international ecumenical charismatic conferences  - most notably Brighton '91, which was attended by 3000 church leaders from 100 countries and the setting up of ICCOWE by Fr. Michael Harper.

Promoting Evangelisation

Fr. Tom also persuaded Piet Dierkson, a Dutch millionaire, to give him £1 million to set up an office in Rome to promote evangelisation in the Catholic Church.

He was responsible for the setting up of the English NSC in the early days of CCR before there was any formal structure.

Under his direction, the organising committee of the the first national charismatic conference was publicly acknowledged as the NSC.

Many will also remember him at one of the first New Dawn conferences, with his clarion cry,  like a wagon train master in a Western: "Let's roll 'em and move out."

Eternal rest, grant unto Fr. Tom, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen

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