Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "To reconcile all things in Christ ": the motto chosen by Card. Oswald Gracias encapsulates the key points of the mission of the cardinal. It is the proclamation of the Word of God and the defense of life and human dignity in all its forms, in fact, that the cardinal has set as his agenda, as archbishop of Mumbai and President of the Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) and the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC). An "all round" curriculum, which embraces the deepest pastoral dimension, ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. Dialogue, as he has repeatedly also told AsiaNews, "for us Christians can only pass through the proclamation of the Good News."
Born in Mumbai December 24, 1944, the Cardinal was created cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI November 24, 2007 and he has always shared a strong theological and pastoral vision with him. A few days before coming to Rome to attend the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (7-28 October 2012), in an interview with AsiaNews he called Benedict XVI's choice to call the meeting "on New Evangelization " "prophetic", particularly with regards an Indian society "permeated by a strong restlessness, from which only the peace of God can free ", but also to the universal Church, which can draw on Asia's "strong spirituality, a sense of contemplation, the importance of the family. " And again imagining the future pope. New Evangelization stands out for the Cardinal; a figure who "will continue the legacy of Benedict XVI", "the only way to address the specific challenges of this era: fanaticism, materialism and relativism ".
On 14 October
2006, Card. Gracias took up the reins of the Archdiocese of Mumbai, a dynamic diocese
with over 525 thousand Catholics. His pastoral plan was immediately clear. As he
would go on to explain to AisaNews in the aftermath of his appointment:
"Strengthening the faith of the community, directing it more to the
service of the Church, the city and our country." While also working on
several institutional fronts, as an archbishop he was ever-present, supporting
many battles and often denouncing "the marginalization of God that leads
to all kinds of cruelty."
Fundamental in his apostolate, the defense and promotion of women, for whom "contempt is expressed in many forms: selective abortion, female feticide, discrimination, domestic violence and marginalization." A traditional Indian culture, which he described as "dominion" and which "embodies beliefs, values, traditions, rules, norms and ideologies that prefer men and sons," not realizing the "adverse effects" this has.
And now it is to
a woman that he has turned, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom he has asked
to intercede during the Conclave, to help and support him in the difficult task
of choosing the new pope. A task for which he has prepared "with great
humility: I've spent many hours in prayer and meditation to ask the Holy Spirit
to teach my heart to be an instrument of providence and grace of God, so that I
can fully carry out the service I was entrusted with my appointment to the
College of cardinals."
In addition to the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, a few days before entering the Sistine Chapel Card. Gracias also turned to the figure of St. Francis Xavier, a priest of the Society of Jesus, the Apostle of the Indies and patron of the missions and the East.