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

  • 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, What should be the first project/s to implement in our effort to renovate our Church? The result of […]
  • 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      A Message from Msgr. Brennan: October, The Month of the Holy Rosary Next Saturday is October first, the beginning of […]
  • 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, Just a week ago, we had the funeral of Marion Fischer who was the librarian for St. Matthias […]
  • 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, Today is the 21st anniversary of 9/11. We are grateful that our annual tradition of the 9/11 Service […]
  • 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, Happy Labor Day weekend! Then, Back to school week! Sincere appreciation for all parents who are excited as well […]
  • 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, Recently a very faithful and active parishioner asked me about a certain prophecy that predicted three days of […]
  • 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, Today’s Gospel has a very controversial question put to Jesus: “Will only a few be saved?” If this […]
  • 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, I’m almost over the jet lag after a 15-hour non-stop flight from New Delhi to Newark – not […]
  • 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Today’s Gospel is a continuation of the theme from last week. Jesus told the story of the man who needed […]
  • 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    World Youth Day – Lisbon, Portugal – July 28th – August 7th, 2023 “Thus will it be for all who store […]
  • 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      LORD, TEACH US TO FORGIVE Today, in Saint Luke’s gospel we read one of the most well-known readings to Christians […]
  • 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear  Friends, An unknown writer has said: “Summer is when Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker. Water gets warmer. Drinks get […]
  • 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, 12 or 72 disciples? We reflected on this question last Sunday based on the Lukan gospel about Jesus […]
  • 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, Last Sunday’s 60th Anniversary Mass, presided by our Bishop Checchio, was a memorable event for everyone present in […]
  • 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, A warm welcome to our Bishop Checchio who is presiding at our 60th Anniversary Mass today! Celebrating 60 […]
  • The Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ
      Dear Friends, Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, single fathers and other father figures in our life. We […]
  • The Most Holy Trinity
      Dear Friends, This is the season of graduations. Thousands and thousands of students all over the nation are having their […]
  • Pentecost Sunday
      Message from Msgr. Seamus Brennan On June 4th, 1972, I was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Michael Russell at […]