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

  • Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated […]
  • Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, The National Catholic Schools week begins today, with the theme: Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.  Our Bishop Checchio has written […]
  • Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, What’s the difference between a “Catholic Bible” and a “Protestant Bible”? This is a question that I have […]
  • Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
    A Rich Treasure of Celebrations January 16 to 25 is filled with a plethora of special observances for our church and […]
  • The Epiphany of the Lord
      Dear Friends, Happy Feast of Epiphany! That word, in its Greek origin, refers to God’s revelation to humans. Today we […]
  • Happy New Year!
    Dear Friends, Happy New Year! The New Year’s Eve Mass is an opportunity for us to thank God for the blessings […]
  • The Nativity of the Lord
      Dear Friends, Merry Christmas! Yes, Christmas is that magical time of the year when glittering lights and colorful decorations line […]
  • 4th Sunday of Advent
      The Sacrament of Penance/ Reconciliation/Confession How long has it been since you celebrated the sacrament of Penance? You can’t remember? […]
  • 3rd Sunday in Advent
      Dear Friends, The Christmas and New Year season is an exciting time but it can also be a time of […]
  • 2nd Sunday of Advent
      Dear Friends, What a spectacular sight to see those 260-plus Christmas trees lit! They truly “Spread the Light” of this […]
  • 1st Sunday of Advent
      Dear Friends, Today we begin Advent – our yearly pilgrimage through the events of our history of salvation starting with […]
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
      Dear Friends, Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, Thanksgiving Thursday is at the door! We are entering a festive season. With the unusual […]
  • 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
      The Four Last Things or Five The month of November ushers in many changes in nature and in the church. […]
  • 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
    Dear Friends, This Friday, November 11, is Veterans Day – an occasion to remind ourselves of the importance to honor all […]
  • 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, We are entering the month of November that reminds us so much about death and life after death. […]
  • 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, Over one billion Catholics all over the world observe today as World Mission Sunday. This annual observance was […]
  • 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, The theme for this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger […]
  • 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, Our church pew refurbishing should be completed in another week. It had to be slowed down as we […]