Oswald Gracias was ordained to the priesthood a good fifty years ago. The Cardinal was born on 24 December 1944 in Mumbai (once known as Bombay). His roots are going back to the former Portuguese colony, Goa that is considered the birthplace of the Latin Rite Catholicism in India. In 2013, following Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, he was also tipped to be one of the potential successors.
Cardinal Gracias, currently also the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, served as President of the Asian Bishops’ Conferences as well. In addition, since 2013 his activities cover being a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinal Advisors.
The dialogues with various cultures, the poor and religions have been identified as his three main tasks. “In Asia the dialogue is rather a necessity than a luxury” – stated the Cardinal. “Being perfectly aware of the structure and functioning of the Church, Cardinal Gracias handles all the diverse situations smoothly, with calm self- confidence and wisdom. Furthermore, his open personality, his friendly and good relations with everyone enables him to flawlessly move in the very direction that solves the conflicts” - said Felix Machado, Archbishop of Vasai (India). The Archbishop also highlighted Gracias’ considerable leadership skills, his fantastic intellectual capacities, and the brilliant memory the Cardinal has been gifted with. “The Cardinal sees things globally, understands in their full context both the background and the nature of the problems that arise, and always finds the most appropriate solution. A truly impressive character.” – added Felix Machado.
And so Machado Archbishop kept going on with the characterisation: “Oswald Gracias, as President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has already made huge efforts to bring the various ritual communities, the Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara rites, closer to each other. He also managed to bridge the gap between the liberals and conservatives.”
“Cardinal Gracias is the man who always finds the balance, better say the easy
middle, without losing sight of the point.”
“In terms of the Church’s moving forward, Oswald Gracias’ membership in the Holy Father’s Council of Cardinal Advisors is considered of extreme importance and a great help.” – explained Felix Machado, Archbishop of Vasai.
Oswald Gracias is an internationally recognised and highly reputed canon lawyer. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai in 1997, then in the year of 2000 was elevated Archbishop of Agra. Six years later Pope Benedict XVI made him Archbishop of Mumbai and the following year he was created and proclaimed Cardinal.
As to Frederick D’Souza, former Executive Director of Caritas India, Cardinal Gracias is an excellent leader, who never seems to get tired of giving advice, guiding, and encouraging everyone. In his capacity as Archbishop of Mumbai he assured a great contribution to develop the social communication, to materialize the medical and health initiatives, as well as to advance the interreligious amity and peace.
“Anyone, regardless where they come from, approaching the Cardinal would leave with full of optimism and hope, enthusiastically and committed. The amazing level of interaction the Cardinal is dealing with, never makes people feel themselves judged, but rather important and challenged to go beyond their limits in favour of the common goal.” – worded Frederick D’Souza The former Executive Director of the Caritas emphasized Gracias’ professionalism that came together with his genuine sense of humour, making the Cardinal an effective and efficient leader. “The ability to laugh and make others to laugh helps to convince people. We are in need of leaders, who really have sense of fun and laughter, while bringing along peace and development.”
Moreover, he added: “There is a problem with the present-day leaders, to put it simply, they lack a sense of wonder, sense of humour and fun. The Cardinal’s attitude, as a leader of many organizations in India and abroad, is the best example to demonstrate how to generate energy, unity, and positive atmosphere among the people. A true leader is able to inspire everyone just by sharing his own long term and inviting vision for the future.”
Source: cruxnow, ertedvagyok.hu, magyarkurir.hu
Photo: IEC Secretariat