Funeral Mass Father Scott Bush

Priesthood was second, much richer, career for island-born vocation

By Patrick Downes
Hawaii Catholic Herald

Father Scott Bush, an Oahu-born, part-Hawaiian former moving company manager who left a business career to embrace God’s call to priesthood, serving more than 25 years in parishes on the Big Island and Oahu, died Jan. 2 at Island Hospice in Palolo. He was 70 years old.

According to Bishop Larry Silva, his death was due to complications from kidney failure and was not COVID-19-related.

The bishop last visited Father Bush at the hospice on Christmas day and gave him Viaticum (Holy Communion for the dying).

“Afterwards, although he was weak and could only speak softly, he gave his “Nunc Dimittis,” speaking of his readiness to die and meet the Lord. He gave thanks to God for the many blessings of his life, especially for the blessing of the priesthood,” the bishop said.

“He said he wanted nothing more than to serve the Lord and his people, and he was richly rewarded in doing so,” Bishop Silva said. “He said he wanted to continue that priestly service forever in heaven. It was beautiful and quite moving.”

The bishop offered a word “of thanks and of consolation” to the priest’s close friend, Allene Ishikawa, who helped care for Father Bush through times of ill health. She was present when he died.

Father Cosmenio “Sammy” Rosimo Jr., who worked with Father Bush at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Ewa Beach, sent condolences to the bishop in a Jan. 3 email from the Philippines, where he is a priest of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia.

“Father Scott was like a brother to me more than my pastor,” said Father Rosimo. “We were transparent to each other and bared our souls to one another.”

He said Father Bush had “a kind and generous heart always aflame with love for the poor and homeless.”

“He delegated a lot of things to me in the administration of the parish except for one thing, the social action ministry,” he said. “He wanted very much to lead in serving the poor and the least.”

“I remember how we cried together about the fate of one homeless family which he eventually adopted in his own townhouse,” Father Rosino said.

“I have lost a brother and a friend on earth,” he said, “but am sure I have gained an intercessor in heaven.”

“I am a second career vocation,” Father Bush told the Hawaii Catholic Herald in a 2018 interview. Of his earlier career managing a Hilo-based moving company, he said, “I was a person who could handle anything. And I was proud of that. I could take on anything; I could do it.”

“But then there also came a time when I couldn’t. And I went into a depression,” he said. “It was a blow to me. And in the depths of my depression, I found God. He lifted me up.”

“It profoundly changed my life. I decided to give my life over to the Lord. I asked the Lord if he was asking me to become a priest. He said, ‘I am not asking you, I am telling you.’ I said, ‘I am 36 years old. I lived a bad life.’”

Nevertheless, the diocese accepted him as a candidate for ordination.

Father Bush entered St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, in 1986, and was ordained a priest at age 42 on June 6, 1992.

Father Bush, who is of Hawaiian, English and Portuguese ethnicity, was born April 7, 1950, the son of George and Priscilla Bush. He has a brother, George, and a sister, Carol. Growing up on Oahu, he attended St. Anthony School in Kalihi and Maryknoll Grade School before enrolling at Saint Louis High School, graduating in 1968.

He went to Seattle University where he received his bachelor of arts degree. He then earned a master’s degree in sociology at the University of Hawaii.

After working about five years on the Big Island in the moving business, he returned to church and rekindled a childhood desire to become a priest.

Father Bush served as a parochial vicar or pastor at Sacred Hearts Parish in Naalehu, Big Island; Holy Rosary Parish in Pahala, Big Island; St. Joseph Parish, Hilo; Malia Puka O Kalani, Keaukaha, Big Island; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Ewa Beach, St. George Church, Waimanalo, and at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Honolulu.

He retired for health reasons on Jan. 1, 2018, and lived at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace rectory, assisting with sacramental duties when he could.

Father Scott said that in recent years, when faced with failing health, he would pray Jesus’ prayer — “Father, I place my life in your hands.”

For the former high-achiever, that surrender “became a source of serenity and peace.”

“All is good, because God is here,” he said. “And I am in God and God is with me. And I am at peace. I live life day-to-day as a precious gift, and I thank God for everything I have.”

Father Ryan’s funeral

Bishop Larry Silva will celebrate a Funeral Mass for Father Jack Ryan, who died Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace. It would have been his 71st birthday. Father Alapaki Kim will preach. The Mass will be livestreamed on the Cathedral’s Facebook page, since his two sisters, who live in Pennsylvania, will not be able to attend in person.