07 Cardinal Oswald @ 21 and ‘The Gracias Effect’  - Nirmala Carvalho

posted Sep 11, 2018, 10:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Sep 11, 2018, 10:49 AM ]
Marking the 21st Episcopal Anniversary of Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay has been silently ushering in a revolution of tenderness, while he continues to shine as an ecclesial star, both in the Church in India and in the Universal Church.

Paving the way for a new culture of leadership in the 21st Century Church, a 'culture of inclusion; of encounter' remains steadfastly the Cardinal's vision and mission for the senior priests. His Eminence continues to inspire the emerging generations of both clerics and lay faithful of the Wisdom of Life and Ministry of our retired clergymen.

"Throwaway culture" has been one of the signature phrases of Pope Francis' papacy, a shorthand way of referring to what he regards as a brutal 21st century culture in which whole categories - including the elderly and even the Earth itself - are essentially regarded as disposable.

However, Gracias @ 21 contrasts the "throwaway" culture with a "culture of inclusion, of encounter" especially for the senior and retired priests in the Archdiocese of Bombay. Clearly, a cornerstone of the Cardinal's episcopacy is the obvious warmth, respect, brotherly affection, concern and care the Archbishop of Bombay has for his senior priests.

Cardinal Oswald provides a new visual of what a spirit of service looks like, by the high priority he places on Inter-generational exchanges and Dialogue between young and senior priests (ditto for lay persons).

Cardinal Gracias sketched his vision of inclusion for the senior priests prior to the "Francis effect". In 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI announced the Year of Priests, Cardinal Gracias inaugurated the Year with a solemn celebration in the Clergy Home in Bandra, citing three reasons for his choice:

• "Firstly, to show them our affection and appreciation for their Priestly ministry so faithfully carried out for so many years;

• Secondly, for their apostleship of prayer which makes our senior Priests a power house of prayer for the Church in India and the Universal Church; and

• Finally because our retired Priests have a wealth of wisdom that stems from their pastoral ministry and experience—their graces will shine on all our Presbyterians all over."