Pastor

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

  • Thanksgiving Message
    Dear Friends, Thanksgiving usually brings lots of joy and fun with good family fellowship. Except that this year it won’t be […]
  • Letter from Fr. Abraham: Thanksgiving Message
    Thanksgiving Message – November 2020 Dear Friends, Thanksgiving usually brings lots of joy and fun with good family fellowship. Except that […]
  • Series on Healing Our Parish
    Healing Our Parish (series of 10 letters) Sunday, December 16, 2018 – Healing Our Parish – Part 1 (of 10): Recourse […]