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VALLEY FOCUS | San Fernando

Priest Is Honored for for Work in Area

July 09, 1998|TOM SCHULTZ

The San Fernando City Council has presented an honorary plaque to Father Thomas Rush, pastor at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in nearby Pacoima, for his longtime devotion to the northeast Valley.

Rush is preparing to leave the area after working in San Fernando and Pacoima for 20 of the past 25 years.

Mayor Raul Godinez II and the four other council members honored Rush, 52, at their biweekly meeting Monday.

Godinez said that while he was a student at Santa Rosa Catholic School he admired Rush, who would accompany youngsters on mountain hikes.

"He was a cool priest," Godinez said. "He had long hair and a beard."

Rush has cut back his hair, but not his enthusiasm, other admirers said.

"One thing about Father Rush is his way of attracting people," said Mary Immaculate's Father Andrew Sensenig. "He's good in the trenches."

A Washington native, Rush came to Santa Rosa Catholic Church in San Fernando in 1973 on his first assignment as a priest. He spent 10 years at the church, left for a few years, then returned before switching to Mary Immaculate. He has served there for the last six years.

"The basic pattern is that after we've been around six years we leave," Rush said. "It's part of the way we do things."

Rush said that when he departs in about a month, he will go to Rome for a series of meetings with church leaders and then be reassigned.

"It's possible that I'll come back," he said, adding that he might also end up elsewhere in the United States or perhaps abroad.

Rush will be succeeded as pastor by Father Paul Ouellette, a priest at St. Ferdinand Catholic Church in San Fernando.

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