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Rev. Ernest J. Bernott

Rev. Ernest J. Bernott

Legacies tend to have a thing or two in common, such as being carried over from an earlier time or having an enduring nature. Both seem suitable to Father Ernest Bernott’s story. His generosity and thoughtful connection to his community can be traced back to his faithful parents, Anthony and Marcella. The couple had eight children, four of whom entered religious life.

Their youngest, Ernest or “Ernie,” was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Francis J. Haas at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in May 1948. Father Bernott served in many appointments as a diocesan priest over his 48 years of ministry, not to mention the additional 13 years he served the diocese after being granted senior priest status.

Throughout his various roles and appointments, Father Bernott was consistent in his fidelity to the Catholic faith, as well as his love of family, and his tendency to be thrifty. “His frugality was legendary among the priests,” quipped one of his peers. Now, looking back, it seems as though Father Bernott had a greater purpose in mind for his thriftiness and the treasures he stewarded.

Prior to his passing, Father Bernott made plans to share his generous heart through charitable bequests, gifts made as part of a will or trust. He was intentional about leaving a legacy that would continue to honor his family and Catholic values beyond his lifetime. Father Bernott’s estate created or contributed to five different endowments with the Catholic Foundation of West Michigan. His life and legacy provides a beautiful example of one who received God’s gifts gracefully, nurtured them responsibly, and shared them generously.

Catholic Foundation of West Michigan Donor Rev. Ernest J. Bernott