No overview of the Catholic Church in Bombay can ignore the tremendous contribution of Valerian Cardinal Gracias. His indefatigable drive laid the foundations of an Archdiocese that nurtured the spiritual, contemplative, educational, medical needs of the Catholic community while keeping the nation's cares and concerns “especially in the field of development and the struggle for social justice" its own. Too long had the Church been associated with the colonial powers. His tenure helped to dispel this notions and chart a new course.
India kept its tryst with destiny in 1947, and the Church in Bombay now under its first Indian Archbishop Valerian Gracias accepted the goals of national regeneration in keeping with the nascent Indian state. Serving the twin objectives of education and health, the Church in Bombay (now Mumbai) through its schools, hospitals and the Medical Guild was an important part of the city and nation's development.
The then Mayor of Bombay, S.K Patil, at a reception in 1951 to honour the appointment of Archbishop Valerian Gracias referred to the "extent of activities, religious, educational and social that are carried out in the Archdiocese of Bombay." His Grace replied, "If freedom brings with it heavy responsibilities, no better service to the city and the country can a religious leader render than by paying for such benefits as will help the country's welfare and prosperity, namely wisdom and fortitude to our leaders, understanding and co-operation among the citizens of all communities, and unselfish and devoted labour on the part of all in the cause of the motherland."