12/14/2006, 00.00
Send to a friend

New Mumbai archbishop to promote a culture of life and inter-faith dialogue

by Nirmala Carvalho
Mgr Oswald Gracias, who succeeds Cardinal Dias, takes over this afternoon. In his pastoral plan focus will be on dialogue with other cultures, possible only if one’s Christian identity is upheld.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Recently appointed to head the archdiocese of Mumbai, Mgr Oswald Gracias’s pastoral plan has a tall order: family, the laity, the marginalised but especially inter-faith dialogue based on Catholics’ ever-present Christian identity.

The new archbishop, whose appointment was announced on October 14, takes over today in a solemn ceremony. He will be formally inducted this afternoon after a mass at the Holy Name Cathedral in the presence of Cardinal Simon Pimenta, archbishop emeritus of Mumbai; Mgr Pedro Lopez Quintana, apostolic nuncio; and 30 more prelates from around the country as well as many priests and men and women religious from the archdiocese. But the decision to hold the ceremony in the cathedral caused some ripples among the lay faithful who could not participate because of the limited number of seats in the building.

Archbishop Gracias replaces Card Ivan Dias, appointed by Benedict XVI to the post of prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. He told AsiaNews that his new pastoral plan “focuses on those topics that are fundamental to promote a culture of life. Breathing new life into and giving new strength to the family is for instance fundamental in a society like the one we live in today. The family is being threatened by secular forces whilst the family, the domestic Church, must be protected”. The family unit “is one of the most active agents of evangelisation, one of the most important witnesses to the power of the Gospel,” he said. Of course, “as part of this there is the issue of the laity. The diocese should play a greater role in their lives”.

The new bishop’s motto is "To reconcile all in Christ" and “reconciling all in Christ will guide [my] every action as archbishop of Mumbai.  I envision the laity taking initiatives, freely, to infuse a Christian spirit into society”.

The Church in Mumbai “has always been particularly concerned about the poor and the marginalised. Now more than ever we must listen to their demands and help them get justice. This task is particularly close to my heart. A vibrant society shared by all can only be achieved if its members pay attention to the needs of those who live at its edges.” However, “the most important need for Christians today is dialogue between religions. Keeping a strong Christian identity is fundamental to building brides between people with different ideas, ideologies, religions and cultures. Dialogue is essential and is part of the essence and mission of the Church, but this must always happen keeping in mind our Catholic identity.”

Mgr Percival Fernandez, auxiliary bishop to the archdiocese, said that the choice of Archbishop Gracias was an “excellent” one. He told AsiaNews that the new archbishop belongs to this diocese which loves him. His human and pastoral experience and his way of relating to everyone are gifts to be admired,” he said.

“I have closely worked with him and I look up to him with great respect and affection”.


Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
White House to stop Beijing's "imperialist" policy in the South China Sea
24/01/2017 15:55
Card Gracias celebrates Christmas Mumbai with Dalit migrants
27/12/2018 15:51
Economic development ought to protect people’s needs, says bishop of Mumbai
Pope Francis close to Indian people afflicted by the COVID-19 emergency
06/05/2021 16:49
New Delhi proposes sanctions to stop female feticide


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”