Church History

A Dream Come True: The Journey from Mission to Parish

Our Knanaya brothers and sisters began migrating to the US in the 1960s and 70s. At the time, a few of those families settled in the tri-state area, especially in New York and New Jersey. In order to continue their faith, these families would attend mass at their local Latin churches while celebrating Knanaya traditions during Christmas and Easter with gatherings in their homes.

The Knanaya community in the tri-state began a new mission in 1993 and Fr. Joseph Sauriamakil arrived from India as the first mission director. Since these families were scattered across the area, new missions were formed in Queens, Westchester, Rockland and New Jersey. Fr. Sauriamakil traveled to each mission once a month to celebrate mass.

The New Jersey mission first began at a church in Fort Lee, NJ, where masses were celebrated on the third Sunday of every month. The church moved to Parsippany, then Linden, Hillside, Roselle Park and Iselin. Over time, Fr Sauriamakil was succeeded by Fr Michael Nedumthuruthil, Fr Thomas Animootil, Fr James Ponganayil and Fr. Renny Kattel. Eventually, the Knanaya families in Staten Island were also added to the New Jersey mission.

In 2017, under the leadership of Fr. Kattel, a new executive committee was formed with Josekunju Chamakalayil and Lumon Manthuruthil leading as trustees. Peter Manthuruthil took the lead of the finances as the treasurer. With the approval of the general body, the trustees were authorized to look for a church to call our own. After a long search, the trustees identified the Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Carteret, NJ as the ideal location for the NJ Knanaya mission. The entire parish including Fr. Kattel, the committee and the general body voted for the purchase of a new church.

Under the leadership of Shaji Vemmelil and the support of Tom Kadiampallil, a building committee was formed to raise funds to purchase the church. All the members of the NJ mission contributed, a lucrative raffle program was held, and even an Elakka Mala auction was conducted successfully. The mission even received donations from Chicago, Florida and Arizona to help their cause.

In July of 2018, the final paperwork was completed, and the church belonged to the NJ Knanaya Mission. The church was renamed as Christ the King Knanaya Catholic Church of New Jersey. The church was officially inaugurated and blessed by Archbishop Mar Mathew Moolakat, Bishop Jacob Angadiath and Bishop Joy Alappatt on September 15, 2018. This blessing also included 40 priests, many nuns and a multitude of Knanaya people from the tri-state area. Fr. Renny Kattel was named the first pastor of the Knanaya Parish of New Jersey.

Now the church is flourishing under the leadership of Fr. Bins Chethalil, who was appointed pastor two years ago. The church has become a beacon for the community with activities for all ages, religious education, social convenings and more.

Congratulations to Binsachan and the executive team for continuing to maintain such a vibrant home for our NJ Knanaya community.


Josekunju Chamakalayil

Josekunju Chamakalayil

Lumon Manthuruthil

Lumon Manthuruthil