Durban monsignor (80) turns pilgrim to raise funds for centre

2013-06-06 00:00

AN 80-year-old Durban monsignor has completed a 300 km fundraising walk through Portugal and Spain.

Monsignor Paul Nadal, a vicar and close friend to the late Archbishop Denis Hurley, has completed a 300 km walk of the famous Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James) trail to raise funds for the construction of the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban.

Nadal, together with a group of 13 other pilgrims, started the long but scenic walk on May 25 from Barcelos in north Portugal and completed the walk via Fatima at Santiago del Compostela in Spain on Monday afternoon.

In an earlier interview before the walk, Nadal had said, “I normally trail others at the back during these walks and I think I will be at the back, but I told the youngest member of our group that whatever happens, he must not leave me behind since I am the oldest.”

However, the octogenarian managed to finish the 300 km a day before he expected. Nadal’s companions found him to be an excellent companion and full of good humour.

Shinaed McCarthy, one of Nadal’s companions, described him as a truly inspirational man who kept her laughing throughout the walk.

Commenting on his experience of the famous trail, Nadal said: “You are never alone on the walk, that is the best thing about the Camino. People from all over the world are always greeting you and offering you their best wishes as they walk with you or pass by. You hear many different languages and see people of all ages.”

After his return from Spain today, a fundraising gala for the Denis Hurley Centre and Nadal’s 81st birthday party will be held on June 21 at the DLI Hall in Greyville. The aim is to have 300 guests, 30 tables of 10, each guest paying R300 as a sponsorship for Nadal’s walk. One of the organisers, Paddy Kearney, confirmed that most tables have been booked and over R100 000 has already been raised.

“The funds raised for this walk will go towards the building of a centre named after the late Archbishop Denis Hurley at Emmanuel Cathedral, set to commence this month. The centre will have a tremendous impact in Durban and KZN,” Nadal said. Those who wish to sponsor the monsignor’s walk by booking a table or any other means can contact Kearney on pkearney@saol.com or at 031 201 3832 or 072 806 4417 .

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