South Africa

Durban’s most senior Catholic priest Monsignor Paul Nadal succumbs to Covid-19

Durban - AFTER 61 years as a priest, Monsignor Paul Nadal, the most senior Diocesan priest in Durban, died yesterday after a short battle with Covid-19.

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the Catholic Archbishop of Durban, said Nadal died peacefully at his home at the Garden Grove Retirement complex in Musgrave, at the age of 87.

Napier said the Monsignor was the most senior Diocesan Priest in the Archdiocese and had celebrated his 60th anniversary of priesthood on December 8, 2019.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to Monsignor Paul's family as well as all Monsignor's friends spread throughout the world,” said Napier.

Nadal served as a Parish Priest at Oakford, St Philomena's and St Paul's Greyville, was the National Secretary of Catechetical Formation of SACBC, national chaplain to universities and director of Kanyisa Retreat Centre in Mariannhill.

He also held a doctorate in philosophy.

In 1983, Archbishop Hurley appointed Nadal as vicar general, a position he held until 1994.

He went on to work as a lecturer at St Joseph's Seminary in Cedara for 13 years and served as the episcopal vicar for formation in 2006.

The Cardinal said, in his latter years, Nadal worked tirelessly for the Denis Hurley Centre and embarked on several fund-raising efforts for it.

Raymond Perrier, director of the Denis Hurley Centre, said when the plan to build the centre was announced, Nadal was the first person to commit himself to make it happen.

The reason why Nadal was close to Hurley was because of the role he played in changing the understanding of the church in Durban during the 1960s revolution in the church, he said.

“He encouraged people to participate and to become better educated about their faith,” said Perrier.

Perrier said this was Nadal’s passion and not only was he instrumental in these teachings in Durban but also in the rest of the country.

“He saw the Denis Hurley Centre as living out the modern church that he had committed his life to promote. A church which cares about the poor and is open to all Christians and all faiths…”

He said Nadal was not afraid to talk about controversial matters and he encouraged debate.

“His great belief as a philosopher and educator was that it is only by debate that we can make things better,” said Perrier

Perrier said he was a hands-on trustee of the organisation for 10 years.

“He was a patron of the organisation who was also probably our single biggest fundraiser. He raised hundreds of thousands of rand for us,” he said

Perrier said Nadal ran the Comrades Marathon at least 19 times, did the Cape Argus a few times and walked 400 km in the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

“He did that specifically as a fundraiser for the Denis Hurley Centre,” said Perrier.

Perrier described Nadal as a hard-working person who was kind, with a sense of humour.

“He will be missed.”

The Mercury

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