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
- 1st Sunday of AdventDear Friends, We are happy that our “Spread the Light Christmas Tree” campaign is on track despite some hiccups along… Read more: 1st Sunday of Advent
- Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the UniverseDear Friends, I hope we all had a happy and relaxed time for Thanksgiving, with family and friends. Thanksgiving has… Read more: Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
- 33rd Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, Today is the World Day of the Poor. It was established by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter,… Read more: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 32nd Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, Out of over 17,000 Roman Catholic parishes in the US, about 800 are considered to be predominantly African-American.… Read more: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 31st Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, Veterans Day is coming up in a week! For over 100 years, we have remembered those who served… Read more: 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 30th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, This week is important for us for various reasons. Tuesday is Halloween. Wednesday is All Saints Feast. Thursday… Read more: 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 29th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, Today is World Mission Sunday. It is our chance to show love and solidarity to our brothers and… Read more: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 28th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: We are all following the conflict between Israel and Palestine that has become a war after… Read more: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 27th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, We are excited that our celebration of the Hispanic Heritage is this weekend during the 5 pm Mass… Read more: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 26th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, October is Respect Life Month, promoting respect for human life in light of our intrinsic dignity as having… Read more: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 25th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, Do we need a “National Eat Dinner Together Day”? Well there is one, and that’s this Monday, September… Read more: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 24th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, Today’s second collection is our quarterly collection for the Maintenance of our Parish Facilities. This was initiated over… Read more: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 23rd Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, For most of us, September 11th remains a lived experience. We have our stories of that fateful day… Read more: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 22nd Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, We are very happy to welcome Rev. Lancelot McGrath this weekend to our parish community. I am grateful… Read more: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 21st Sunday of OrdinaryDear Friends, Today I wish to share with you some miscellaneous items: Outside the Church: Sprucing up the front and… Read more: 21st Sunday of Ordinary
- 20th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, Last Sunday you heard four members of our youth ministry SMYLE address us after Holy Communion. (You must… Read more: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 19th Sunday in Ordinary TimeDear Friends, Today we are very happy to welcome Deacon Enock Berluche Sr. to our parish for the Mission Appeal,… Read more: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
- Feast of the Transfiguration of the LordDear Friends, The World Youth Day celebrations (August 1-6, 2023) are concluding today. More than 28,600 young adults from 1,300… Read more: Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord