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 Most Holy Trinity
      Dear Friends, You have seen the change of colors in the church to green, reminding us that we are now […]
  • Pentecost Sunday
      Mary and the Eucharist We are in the last week of the month of May which has traditionally been seen […]
  • Ascension of the Lord
    Dear Friends, We know from the Bible that the Ascension of Jesus took place forty days after the Resurrection: “[Jesus] presented […]
  • Sixth Sunday of Easter & Mother’s Day
      Dear Friends, How nice that we have many important celebrations today! FIRST, Mother’s Day! A very happy Mother’s Day to […]
  • Fifth Sunday of Easter
      Dear Friends, You must have noticed the sound of Hand bells (Sanctus bells) during the Mass. We began to use […]
  • Fourth Sunday of Easter
      Dear Friends, Three weeks have passed after Easter Sunday, and I still hear so many good comments about our celebration […]
  • The Road to Emmaus
      Speaking of today’s gospel, Pope Benedict XVI said “The road to Emmaus actually represents every place: the road that leads […]
  • Divine Mercy Sunday
      Dear Friends, Happy Easter! Yes, Easter is such a foundational feast of our faith, which the Church continues to celebrate […]
  • Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of The Lord
      Dear Friends, Easter Blessings to you and your dear ones! Father Basil Pennington, a Catholic monk, has written about an […]
  • Palm Sunday of the Passion of The Lord
      Dear Friends, I read this story about comedian Yakov Smirnoff, a Ukrainian-American comedian, actor and writer who began his career as a stand-up […]
  • Fifth Sunday of Lent
      The Sacred Paschal Triduum After Christmas, Easter and holy week are probably a favorite time of year for most Catholics. […]
  • Fourth Sunday of Lent
      Dear Friends, Welcome back to Msgr. Brennan who had gone to Ireland when he got the sad news of his […]
  • Third Sunday of Lent
    Dear Friends, This coming Friday is the feast of St. Patrick, “when everyone is Irish,” celebrating the saint who plucked a […]
  • Second Sunday of Lent
      Dear Friends, On March 27, 2020, at an early point in the global pandemic, Pope Francis walked alone in the […]
  • First Sunday of Lent
      Dear Friends, It was great to see so many of our people making an extra effort to begin Lent with […]
  • Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
      The Miraculous Medal Novena One of the most popular and widespread devotions in the Catholic Church is the Miraculous Medal […]
  • Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
      Dear Friends, Today is World Marriage Day, an annual observance to honor husband and wife as the foundation of the […]
  • 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 […]