Fr. Matthew Pawlikowski was born and raised in New Jersey, the youngest of seven children: five boys and two girls. He graduated from West Point in 1986 and was commissioned an Infantry officer. He served at Ft. Benning, Georgia; Uijeongbu, Korea; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina (home of the 82nd Airborne Division). Ordained a priest in 1997, he was assigned for three years to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Bloomfield. He also served as chaplain to the Bloomfield Police Department and liaison to the town’s Ecumenical Pastors Association. He re-entered active duty as an Army chaplain and immediately returned to Fort Bragg. While serving in Sinai, Egypt, as part of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force, he led over 50 pilgrimages to Mount Sinai, Cairo and Israel. While assigned to Kaiserslautern, Germany, he led congregations to the International Military Pilgrimage in Lourdes (twice), a pilgrimage to Poland (once) and hiked a personal pilgrimage on the final 70-mile portion of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. At Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he was the command chaplain and senior priest for the post; he led soldiers in 60-mile pilgrimages to Pilsen, Kansas—the hometown of chaplain (Capt.) the Rev. Emil Joseph Kapaun, a Medal of Honor recipient from the Korean War and currently being considered for canonization. In June 2015, he was assigned to West Point as the senior chaplain, the first Catholic to ever hold the position. He also serves there as chaplain to the Army Football Team. Father Pawlikowski has been awarded the Bronze Star, is a senior parachutist, and ranger qualified. He retired in 2020 and is currently at West Point as a civilian chaplain.