St. Thomas parish welcomes new priest to Camas

Rajasekar Savarimuthu affectionately known as ‘Father Raja’ to parishioners

(Photo by Kelly Moyer/Post-Record) Father Rajasekar Savarimuthu, the new priest at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Camas, grew up in India and has spent the past few years ministering in Washington State.

Father Rajasekar Savarimuthu is slowly getting to know the Camas-Washougal community, and, so far, the young priest is pleased with what he’s found.
“Monday is my day off, and I’ve been hiking,” Savarimuthu, 33, known affectionately as “Father Raja” to his Camas parishioners, said. “It is beautiful.”
Born in the southern India state of Tamil Nadu to a large Catholic family, Savarimuthu said he knew from a young age that he wanted to serve God in some capacity.
By the time he was in seventh grade, Savarimuthu said he could feel God calling to him. By his second year of high school, he had left his close-knit family to spend every day in devotion to God at a seminary, where he was required to attend a daily, 5:15 a.m. mass.
When Savarimuthu went to seminary, he went with 75 boys from his hometown. Only four were left by the time he was ordained. The others had married or found other ways of serving God, he said. However, Savarimuthu added, in the Indian village where he grew up, becoming a Catholic priest wasn’t all that rare. In fact, the town has produced more than 1,500 priests.
For Savarimuthu, becoming a priest would be the beginning of an international adventure. In 2015, Savarimuthu moved to the United States, landing in Washington State, where he has spent the past few years ministering to Catholics throughout the state, including, most recently, to parishioners on three islands — San Juan, Shaw and Lopez — in the Salish Sea off the northwest Washington coast.
Savarimuthu transferred to the Camas-based St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in May, and said he hopes to entice lapsed Catholics back to the church.
“St. Thomas is welcoming and (filled with) good people who take care of one another,” Savarimuthu said.
To learn more about the church, a parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle located at 324 N.E. Oak St., in Camas, visit stthomascamas.org.