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Indian Cardinal Gracias launches book to mark 50 years of priesthood

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of India launched his autobiography during an event in the Vatican on Tuesday, August 30, to mark his golden jubilee as a priest and his silver jubilee as a bishop.

In a brief statement during the occasion, the cardinal said he could hardly believe that he spent 50 years of his life as a priest, 25 years of which as a bishop.

The cardinal said he still sees a lot of things to do, expressing hope that with the upcoming General Conference of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, the Church in Asia will take a step forward in responding to their call to serve.

“Every baptized person is called to spend themselves for the Church,” said Cardinal Gracias.

He said he was first against the book project. “They convinced me (because they said) it was for the good of the Church in India,” he said.

Speaking about Pope Francis, Cardinal Gracias said “the Church faces many challenges.”

“Today the pope spoke to us about hope. It is like a gift of the Holy Spirit is pushing the pope to speak about hope,” he said.

The Vatican gathering was hosted by the Indian Bishops’ Conference to honor the six new Asian Cardinals.

In his opening remarks on behalf of his fellow newly-created cardinals, Cardinal Philip Neri of Goa said that all six new cardinals “count on prayers of all present” so that they might rise to the challenges of their new ministry.

Cardinal Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship, praised the Bishops Conference of India, which he described as “very special.”

“When you meet the bishops from India, they have a twinkle in their eye, and a spring in their step,” he said.

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