A long-serving Marist priest celebrates his 100th birthday today.
Friends and family will join Father George Duggan at the St Joseph's Home of Compassion in Upper Hutt, where he will receive a blessing from Pope Benedict.
Father Duggan, also known as Chalky, was a lecturer, a dedicated scholar of theology and a regular in the letters pages of The Listener.
He was ordained in 1936 in Rome on the feast of St Thomas Aquinas, whose work he studied. He was also a keen sportsman, playing in both the first XI and first XV in his time at St Bede's College in Christchurch, and would use the gestures of cricket umpires to spice up his lectures.
Father Noel Delaney, a friend and former student of Father Duggan, said the name "Chalky" came about because, in his youth, there was a famous boxer named Chalky Duggan "so they gave him the name at the same time".
He described Father Duggan as a philosopher with strong common sense who, as a student, would be the voice for student concerns.
He once wrote a book "analysing and questioning" Charles Darwin.
- © Fairfax NZ News