Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Agra whose appointment as Archbishop of Bombay was announced by Pope Benedict XVI in October will be installed at colossal ceremony on Thursday at the Holy Name Cathedral in Colaba.
The Papal Nuncio, Vatican ambassador to India, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana with Cardinal Simon Pimenta, Emeritus Archbishop of Bombay will conduct the induction ceremony in presence of over 30 archbishops and bishops from all over India and priests and religious men and women of the archdiocese of Bombay.
"It will be a grand liturgical ceremony with best of arrangements. We want to give him a very warm welcome," said Father Anthony Charangat, spokesperson, Archdiocese of Bombay. "Archbishop Gracias succeeds the high profile popular Cardinal Dias, thus holds a very important position. He will work towards building bridges of peace in the Christian community and bring about religious harmony and reconciliation between various faiths", added Charangat.
The largest archdiocese in India was vacant since May 20, 2006 when Cardinal Ivan Dias took charge as prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples in the Vatican City.
"We are thrilled to get back our own bishop now elevated as archbishop and we will extend full co-operation in discharging his responsibilities towards the community and the nation at large," said Dolphy D'souza, President of the Bombay Catholic Sabha and Vice President of All Indian Catholic Union.
Born in 1944 in Mahim, Mumbai, Archbishop Gracias was ordained priest in 1970. In January 1997 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay. Three years later he became Archbishop of Agra. He will be assisted by three auxiliary bishops- Bishop Bosco Penha, Bishop Percival Fernandez and Bishop Agnelo Gracias.
He was secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and currently the President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI). He is a consulter to
the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.
The Archdiocese of Bombay comprises of 5.5 lakh Catholics spread over 98 Churches in three districts, served by 750 priests, 1,530 nuns, and runs 129 schools and colleges.