Meet Fr. Abraham Orapankal, Pastor of St. Matthias

Born Oct. 11, 1956 in the southernmost Indian state of Kerala, Father Abraham Orapankal, his parents’ firstborn, has four brothers and three sisters. At age 15 he entered the seminary in the northeastern state of Assam to become a missionary priest. He then graduated from Christ King College, Shillong, and completed his theological studies at Jnana Deepa-Vidyapeeth (Pontifical Institute) in Pune, both in India. He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 17, 1983 for the missionary Diocese of Kohima in Nagaland, then earned his master’s degree in theology. He was appointed dean of the Minor Seminary in Nagaland, where he subsequently became rector. He was then made Pastor of Queen Mary’s Parish and Principal of Queen Mary’s High School with 2000 students in Mokokchung, Nagaland while serving as an adjunct professor in the Oriens Theological College in Shillong.

As a Ph.D was required to be a resident professor at Oriens, Father Abraham came to the United States in 1994 and began his doctoral studies at Fordham University, while serving as Parochial Vicar at St. Catharine’s Church, Blauvelt, NY. After earning a doctorate in the church leadership program from Fordham’s School of Education, he also completed a Certification program in Spiritual Direction from the Shalem Ecumenical Institute in Bethesda, Md. He returned to India in 2001 to teach theology and to serve as spiritual director at Oriens Theological Seminary in Shillong. But in 2004 he was allowed to return to the U.S. due to health reasons. Residing at Sacred Heart Church in South Plainfield, NJ, he did six years of ministry with RENEW International, as a national presenter and retreat director. RENEW is a 40-year-old international Catholic movement, following the principles of Vatican Council II, started in the Newark Archdiocese. Father Abraham also supervised RENEW’s “Theology on Tap” – a very effective outreach to young adults.

He joined the Diocese of Metuchen and Bishop Paul Bootkoski appointed him as Parochial Vicar at St. Bartholomew’s Church in East Brunswick in 2010. He was sent to St. John Neumann Church as Pastor in 2012. Bishop James Checchio transferred him as administrator of St. Matthias Church in October 2018. A year later he was appointed Pastor of St. Matthias Parish.  

Letters from Fr. Abraham

  • Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    Dear Friends, The announcement last week that Msgr. Joseph Curry will be transferred was met with lots of sadness from all […]
  • Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    Dear Friends, A few weeks ago we celebrated our moms and offered Mass to them. Celebrating Father’s Day today, we are […]
  • Faith, Caring and Excellence
    Dear Friends, We just went through the week of graduations. It was very heart-warming to see the graduation of the little […]
  • Feast of Corpus Christi (Feast of the Body of Christ)
    Dear Friends, The Catholic Church has a rich heritage of traditions and practices many of which are enshrined as annual celebrations. […]
  • Feast of the Holy Trinity
    Dear Friends, The dramatic events of Holy Week and Easter came to a conclusion, liturgically speaking, with another dramatic event of […]
  • Happy Feast of Pentecost
    Dear Friends, Happy Feast of Pentecost! Most Churches – Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopal, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches as well as many Protestant […]
  • Ascension of the Lord
    Dear Friends, This year, the Feast of Ascension (Thursday May 13) is postponed to Sunday May 16 which is today. After […]
  • Sixth Sunday of Easter
    Dear Friends, We salute all our Mothers today! The opening sentence in Amoris Laetitia (Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family), offers […]
  • Fifth Sunday of Easter
    Dear Friends, This month of May brings before us two great saints – Joseph and Mary – who are models of […]
  • Fourth Sunday of Easter
    Dear Friends, Last Sunday’s bulletin had some info about starting a “Parish Vocations Committee” (PVC) here at St. Matthias, led by […]
  • Third Sunday of Easter
    Dear Friends, As you know, our 2021 RCIA class is very large with 25 adults. Thank you to those of you […]
  • Second Sunday of Easter
    Dear Friends, By now it is well known that the Sunday after Easter is celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. St. Faustina, […]
  • Easter Message
    Dear Friends, Does the ongoing challenging situation make a difference in the way we say “Happy Easter!” this year? Do we […]
  • Approaching Holy Week & Communal Reconciliation Service
    Dear Friends, One more week and we will be entering Holy Week! Lent will come to an end soon. This is […]
  • Lent 2021
    Dear Friends, With a different way of receiving ashes on our forehead this year, we have just entered the holy season […]
  • Fr. Abraham’s Christmas Message
    Dear Friends, Merry Christmas! Even when the usual celebrations of this happy season are marred by the pandemic, we all want […]
  • Thanksgiving Message – November 2020
    Dear Friends, Thanksgiving usually brings lots of joy and fun with good family fellowship. Except that this year it won’t be […]
  • Series on Healing Our Parish
    Healing Our Parish (series of 10 letters) Sunday, December 16, 2018 – Healing Our Parish – Part 1 (of 10): Recourse […]