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

  • The Ascension of the Lord
    Dear Friends, We kicked off our 60th Anniversary two weeks ago. The reception after each Mass was well appreciated. The 5 […]
  • Sixth Sunday of Easter
      Dear Friends, Biblically, Ascension took place 40 days after the Resurrection and so the actual Ascension Day falls on a […]
  • Fifth Sunday of Easter
    Dear Friends, This is our 60th Anniversary kick off weekend! We are entering into the celebration-phase of the 60 years of […]
  • Fourth Sunday of Easter
    Dear Friends, Today we thank our mothers and honor them by celebrating Mother’s Day and by offering our mothers on the […]
  • Sunday, May 1, 2022
    Dear Friends, We enter the month of May, the month of Mary, with the feast of “St Joseph, the Worker.” This […]
  • Sunday of Divine Mercy
    Dear Friends, It was very gratifying to see so many of our people returning to join the Church services in person. […]
  • Easter Sunday
    Dear Friends, Easter Blessings to you and your dear ones! This is our third Easter since the pandemic began. Each time […]
  • Holy Week – April 10-17, 2022
    Holy Week is the holiest week of the year and a time when all Catholics should try to alter their schedule […]
  • Fifth Sunday of Lent
    Dear Friends, Was Jesus “soft” on sin? Today’s gospel from John 8:1-11 about the way Jesus treated the woman caught in […]
  • Fourth Sunday of Lent
    Dear Friends, A couple, very dedicated members of our parish, asked me this question over a month ago: “Father, do you […]
  • Third Sunday of Lent
    Dear Friends, We have scheduled a Healing Mass on Saturday March 26th at 11am, presided by Msgr. Seamus Brennan. All who […]
  • Second Sunday of Lent
    Dear Friends, For some time now, you probably have noticed workers on the roof of our church and may have wondered […]
  • First Sunday of Lent
    Dear Friends, We have officially entered the holy season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. The pandemic had already made us use […]
  • Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    Dear Friends, Listening Sessions for Synod: Some of our parishioners were able to attend the deanery ‘Listening Session’ in Somerville on […]
  • Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
    Dear Friends, It is becoming increasingly common knowledge that the generations being raised up now are dissociating themselves from any religious […]
  • Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    Dear Friends, Three related observances are happening this week: National Marriage Week (Feb 7-14): This week draws our attention to the […]
  • Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    Dear Friends, This year is the 60th Anniversary of the founding of our St. Matthias Parish. You must have already heard […]
  • Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
    Dear Friends, Last Sunday Mrs. Mary Lynch, our Principal gave a pulpit invitation to us to join the special Mass this […]