Valerian Gracias received his theological and philosophical training in Bangalore, Kandy and Rome. He received on 3 October 1926, the sacrament of Holy Orders, and then worked as a parish pastor in Bandra, a suburb of Bombay. After further studies, he became in 1930 the personal secretary of the Archbishop of Bombay in the year. In the years 1937-1946 he worked as a pastor and editor of a newspaper in Bombay.
1946 Pope Pius XII appointed him. Titular Bishop of Thennesus and Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, 1950 as Archbishop of Bombay. On January 12, 1953, he took it as a cardinal priest with the titular church of Santa Maria in Via Lata in the College of Cardinals to. Valerian Cardinal Gracias was the first Indian who was created cardinal. He participated in the conclave of 1958, in the Second Vatican Council and the conclave of 1963. The first conclave of 1978 he could not attend due to illness. Valerian Cardinal Gracias died on 11 September 1978 in Bombay and was buried in the local cathedral.