Thursday, July 31, 2014  

Know Your Priests:

Fr. David : Friend of the Needy


Fr. David Dominic Savarimuthu, was born in the industrial city of Coimbatore in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as the third child in a family of 6 children, all boys. Fr David is proud that among the six, two of them are now priests - his youngest brother is working in the Philippines in the SMA congregation. Fr David, now in his 15th year of priesthood grew up in a very pious family where going for daily mass was a norm and the daily family prayer was a must. He belonged to a vibrant parish which has over the years produced many priests and nuns, many from his own extended family. It is therefore no surprise that ever since childhood David had no other ambition, but a great desire to be a priest. Though his own parish was a diocesan parish, there was a Capuchin parish in the neighborhood and in the 8th grade he met priests from this parish through which his resolute decision to priesthood was further strengthened. When he attended a vocation camp after his 10th grade, he was advised to join the seminary after his 12th grade. The simple life led by Br. Pancras, one of the Capuchin brothers in his hometown inspired him and he plunged into his seminary studies with zeal. These took him to various districts like Tuticorin, Coimbatore, Kotagiri, Nagercoil and Trichy in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.  Fr David was ordained on 14 January 1997 in Amla Ashram, Trichy (which is the first Capuchin house in Tamil Nadu). He recollects that while he enjoyed the formative years in the seminary he also nurtured the desire to work among the downtrodden and poor people in the villages as he had many opportunities while at the formation house to serve the poor people. He identifies himself with the poor and still has a great desire to work among them. He is greatly inspired by the life and spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Capuchin Order.


Fr David’s first assignment was in Amla Ashram, Trichy as Asst. Parish Priest and simultaneously the Treasurer of the theological college for 2 years. He was then Treasurer of St. Mathias Parish in the metro city of Chennai where he was able to complete his Masters degree in Social Works. Subsequently he was transferred to Krishnagiri town as Asst. Parish Priest and House Treasurer in St. Antony’s Church and was also the Spiritual Director of Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) at the Diocesan level. For the next six and a half years, Fr David served as the Parish Priest in Salem diocese and was Spiritual Director of SFO at the state level in Tamil Nadu.


Fr David has been with St. Mary’s Church, Dubai since September 2010 and as his great desire to work for the needy people continues to be a driving force in his priestly life, he is actively involved with the Prison and Hospital ministry of the parish. He visited the Kish Island to learn first hand about the transit facilities and is instrumental in providing comfort for the marginalized sections of the society amid the gleam and shine of the luxurious Dubai skyline. He especially finds great fulfillment and happiness to mingle with the suffering and sick patients in the hospitals. He also finds time to arrange for job opportunities and tries as much as possible to work among the lower sections of the society who are badly in need of help and his motive to serve the deserving people remains strong as ever.


Fr. David feels that the main challenge to priesthood is the overpowering appeal of consumerism. He is however wholly inspired to see the faith of the expatriate population in Dubai despite being away from their homeland and feels that it is possible to see vocations amid the racy lifestyle in Dubai.


Fr David’s message to the youth is short but powerful: Though we live in a world of consumerism, we should have a burning thirst for God, which should guide our lives. As a young man, St. Francis of Assisi enjoyed his life, but when he realized the emptiness in his life, he could find fulfillment only when he offered himself to the service of God. Like a lotus flower which does not get wet eventhough it is surrounded by water, the youth should not lose their values by getting carried away with an addiction to worldly pleasures and media. Today’s youth are efficient in their careers and in the same manner, they have to charge their spiritual life through prayers.


On the personal front, his biggest interest is reading – he collects books and spends time to read – wherever he goes he travels with a book. He also enjoys playing table-tennis and basketball.

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