Father William C. Bush is a gentle soul who wears an easy smile above his clerical collar and carries a half century of spiritual experience under his belt.
He is known to many in the community for his approachable demeanor, perpetually kindness and love of Notre Dame football.
But most importantly, he is respected for his devotion to Jesus Christ and his demonstration of that love to others.
In June, the accumulation of his 50 years of Holy service will be celebrated in a Golden Jubilee at St. Luke Catholic Church on South Main Street.
“I’ve known Father Bush for over 20 years — when he first came to St. Luke,” parish secretary Terry Leitch said. “He is a very Holy priest and he knows his sheep.”
Leitch said it was a “privileged to work at St. Luke” for the past 10 years with Father Bush.
“He’s a great man,” she said. “He’s also great at finding just the right person to get involved and take on a project.”
Born in Lexington, Bush said he felt called to the ministry when he was in high school.
Though his chosen lifestyle could have moved him anywhere is the county the Lord chose to call the Father back to his old Kentucky home.
After teaching at Lexington Catholic High School for several years and other assignments, he was ready to become the senior preist of St. Luke Catholic Church in 1989.
“People at St. Luke were very welcoming, very down to earth,” he said, “and they are very active in their faith.”
Over the years, because of that faith and dedication to God, Bush has seen the expansion of St. Luke’s property and growth of the congregation to nearly 1,000 parishioners.
Father Bush said his greatest joy comes from the start of the Eucharistic chapel of perpetual adoration, which is the building neighboring St. Luke’s rectory.
For the past 17 years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there has always been at least one person at the Eucharist, where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, who stays there in prayer.
The concept of perpetual adoration is nothing new to the Catholic church, but Bush said he was inspired by other congregations which were much smaller than St. Luke when he decided to start their own chapel.
There was even some reservation in the church in the beginning but “if the Lord wants it, it will be successful,” he said.
And the proof of the chapel's success is “self evident.”
The father said that at least three women have heard their calling into a convent, and two men, who are currently seeking priesthood, have gone to seminary after their time of mediation at the Eucharist.
"It's all come from prayer at that chapel," Bush said. "That's the accomplishment that stands out the most in my mind after my time here."
However, the life of a priest, the road less travelled, is not an easy one and with all the joy there is hardship.
“It’s a life a prayer I lead,” Bush said. “If you don’t have any faith, that’s a dead-end street. Priests have to have a strong prayer life (and) try to instill that confidence in others.”
Yet, with every hardship comes awe-inspiring faith reaffirming his beliefs, Bush said. There have been with many families, individuals and friends going through what seemed liked impossible situations, even death, but Bush said he was amazed and inspired by the perseverance of his “flock.”
That inspiration is what keeps him going, he said — that, and God’s word will keep him going.