Our Lady of the Gulf Church welcomes Franciscan Fr. Rush
By Cassandra Favre
Sep 27, 2013, 23:18
Bay St. Louis' Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic church, this month, welcomed a new priest to the parish, Fr. Gerald Vincent Rush, OFM (Order of Friars Minor).
Rush, one of nine children, was born in Nebraska and attended high school in Iowa.
From 1970-71 Rush was a combat soldier U.S. Army, infantry in Vietnam.
"I felt called to become a priest during my service in Vietnam," Rush said. "I just knew I didn't want to do bad or nasty things anymore."
Rush holds a B.S. in business and M.B.A. in finance from the University of Nebraska; S.T.B. in theology from Rome's Gregorian University; M.A., S.T.L. and Ph.D. in Spirituality from Rome's Angelicum University; M.Ed in special education from George Washington University in Washington D.C.
Rush was ordained a priest on June 3, 1989, at the Diocese of Omaha, Neb.
He entered the Franciscan formation with the Custody of the Holy Land in August 1994.
"Franciscans work for free," Rush said. "We preach the gospel without charge.
"We believe that in giving you receive."
"Franciscans are an order devoted to the beliefs of St. Francis of Assisi, the Saint of ecology, garden and animals," Rush said. "He worked with the lepers and the poor."
Rush has lived and served in several locations including Israel, Rome, Germany and Washington D.C.
He served in parishes and taught in high school.
Rush arrived in Diamondhead in July and has been assisting with pastoral and sacramental duties at OLG for about three weeks.
"I don't live in the rectory due to my health concerns," Rush said. "I have agent orange prostate cancer.
"My doctor felt it would be better to live apart from the busy atmosphere of the rectory so I could rest and heal.
"Agent orange prostate cancer is a disease associated with agent orange exposure during military service.The Biloxi VA has one of the top doctors for this type of cancer."
"This parish is so good," Rush said. "Monsignor and the choirs are incredible.
"The people here really appreciate if you do things well.
"It's a blessing to be back in a church that tries."
OLG added new Masses to the schedule:
Tuesdays at 6 p.m. followed by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Novena
Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.
Sundays at 6 p.m.
A priest is available for confessions a half hour before Mass on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and an hour before Mass on Sundays.
"These evening masses are good," Rush said. "Ending the day with an upbeat Mass is great.
"The Sunday evening Mass is great for Saints fans who can come thank God afterwards for a big win."