Born on December 10, 1944 at Erumely Bishop Mar Mathew Arackal had his schooling in St. Thomas High School, Erumely and then joined St. Thomas Minor Seminary, Changanacherry. Later, he was sent to St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor for philosophical and theological studies. He was ordained priest on March 13, 1971, by Mar Antony Padiyara. During 1971-1974, he served as the Assistant Vicar at Amboori Parish, Director of Samaritan Hospital, Amboori and estate manager of the Archdiocese of Changanacherry. He is credited with establishing the first Labour contractors Co-operative Society in Kerala. Neyyattumkara was the Central Office of the Society. In 1974 he was appointed Assistant Procurator of the Archdiocese of Changanacherry.
When the Eparchy of Kanjirapally was erected in 1977, he was appointed Vicar of Peermade and Murinjapuzha. In 1980 he started Peermade Development Society and served as its Founder and Executive Director till 2001. Peermade Development Society (PDS) steadily grew to become one of the most outstanding NGO-s in the country. He was also the Parish Priest at Elappara from1991 – 2001.
Fr. Mathew Arackal took the lead in forming Kallivayalil Pappan Memorial Charitable Trust (KPMC Trust), to empower women and make them capable of gainful employment. His other achievements include, the establishment of High Range Medical Centre (HRMC), Sahyadri Ayurvedic Pharmaceuticals with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification, two major residential training centres for rural development with research wings and lab facilities in Bio technology and Eco-farming. He took the lead, organizing the farmers of Peermade and Udumbenchola Taluk bringing them under organic farming. To process their products two factories were set up according to European Union standard: One for organic spices and another for organic tea. He was the Secretary to the Red Cross Society in Indukki District.
When Mar Matthew Vattackuzhy resigned, Fr. Mathew Arackal was appointed Bishop of Kanjirapally. The official announcement was made on January 19, 2001. His Episcopal Consecration took place on February 9, 2001 at St. Dominic’s Cathedral, Kanjirapally. On the same day, he took charge of the office. Mar Mathew Arackal resigned from the office on 15 Jan 2020, as per the the canonical age of retirement. His motto is “to have life and have it abundantly”.
Bishop Arackal held several key positions such as:
- Adviser to the Planning Commission, Govt. of India
- Chairman, Kerala Social Service Forum (KSSF)
- Chairman, KCBC Commission for Justice
- Peace and development and Chairman
- Syro-Malabar Laity Commission He held several prestigious positions like Chairman
- Jeevan Telecasting Corporation Ltd.
- Chairman, Rashtra Deepika Ltd.
- Bishop representative of Functional Vocational Training Forum (FVTF) under CBCI
- Member of CBCI Commission for Scheduled Caste, Tribes and Backward classes
- Member of Governing Body of Continuing Education cell, Kerala State
- Academic Council on General Education, Govt. of Kerala
- PIA for Rajeev Gandhi Water Mission Govt. of India
- Resource Person of CAPART, Govt. of India; Kerala State Farming Corporation, The Task Force for Participatory Planning; State Council for Education, Research and Training; Watershed Development and Management Evaluation Team.
- He is the only representative from Asia and Africa to the International Delegate Assembly of Naturland, Germany.
- Chairman of the finance council of the Syro Malabar Church.
- He is a member of the Environmental Prize Committee for the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar (IGPP).
- He is a member of the Youth Commission for federation of Asian Bishop’s Conference.
"To have life and have it abundantly”