familyspiritsdhamaraj

CAPTION: The Dharmaraj Family: Dharma, Ethan, Kevin and Priya

The Dharmaraj family has been part of Saint Elizabeth Parish since 2012. Despite living thousands of miles from where they were born, our community is now their home. 

Dharma and Priya were raised in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India. They went to college in India and earned degrees in Electronics and Electrical
Engineering. Dharma received a graduate degree in Computer Science at Colorado State University after moving to the United States. Priya and Dharma met at their first job and, in 2002, were married at Saint Joseph Parish in Dharma’s native city of Madurai.

Growing up, Dharma and his family attended daily Mass at the early hour of 5:30 AM each day. “My parents never missed a day and wouldn’t allow their children to miss a day either,” Dharma recalled. Priya, however, was not raised Catholic and only became interested in Christianity after meeting Dharma. A few years into their relationship, Priya was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

When their first son, Kevin, was six months old, the family moved to the U.S. for Dharma’s work. They had planned to go back to India, but “loved everything here about America.” While they missed their family in India, they loved it so much in America that they decided to stay. Initially, the transition was difficult. “In India, we were used to having family and friends nearby at all times, and Mass, prayers, and the bible were in our native
language, Tamil,” Dharma explained. The family eventually became more comfortable on American soil, but only with the help of close-knit Catholic
communities. While living in Delaware, the family joined Christ Our King Parish. A few years later in 2012, while looking for a new home, the family attended Mass here at Saint Elizabeth.

“We wanted our new home to be in a strong Catholic community and after we left church that day we knew this was the place where we were going to settle down,” Priya remembered.

Today, Kevin is in eighth grade at Lionville Middle School. He enjoys math, science, “building anything,” and participating in robotics competitions. He was baptized in India, attended Saint Elizabeth’s Elementary Faith Formation program, and was confirmed in 2016. “EFF was so helpful in rooting our son in his faith. We are still amazed at the teachers and their stewardship commitment,” Priya added. The newest family member, Ethan, was born last year and baptized at Saint Elizabeth Parish in January 2017.

Dharma recently attended the Christ Renews His Parish renewal program and participated on the formation team. “CRHP was the boost I needed,” he said, “I recommend it to everyone. You will benefit wherever you are in your faith journey.” He noted that praying and working with the other men on the formation team was one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

“The Saint Elizabeth community is very warm and open,” Dharma concluded. “From the very first day we arrived, so many folks have welcomed us, offered their friendship, and put a smile on our faces. As first-generation immigrants, we can’t thank everyone enough.”
                                                                                                                                                                                   ~ David Guthrie