Deacon Charles Bernard known for humility, woodworking

| February 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
Deacon Charles Bernard

Deacon Charles Bernard

The handiwork of Deacon Charles Bernard will be prominently displayed at his funeral Mass 11 a.m. Feb. 8 at Risen Savior in Burnsville.

He died Feb. 3 at the age of 84, but his legacy will live on at the parish where he served in active ministry from 1984 to 2001 and for more than a decade after that during his retirement. He made the wooden cross that is permanently installed behind the altar. He also made a podium used in the church, the ambry where sacred oils are stored, plus numerous prayer tables.

“He was a wonderful woodworker,” said Marianne Brass, the communications and community life coordinator who has worked at the parish since 1999. “He made so many pieces for Risen Savior. . . . He had a woodworking shop in his home. That was his major hobby.”

Born in Lansing, Michagan, he was ordained a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1978, and retired from active ministry in 2001. After his ordination, he was assigned to All Saints in Lakeville. The pastor at the time, Father Greg Welch, later hired him as the business administrator.

“He was great,” said Father Welch, 74, who is retired and will be the main celebrant at Deacon Bernard’s funeral Mass. “He was kind of a healing person. He had a big, deep voice, a beautiful voice. He was very gentle with people, he was a good listener. He was really liked a lot in the parish for a myriad of things. He was very easy to get along with on the staff. He was a real joy to work with, I’ll tell you. He was a tremendous blessing.”

Brass, who said she has worked at Risen Savior longer than anyone else currently on staff, said she was struck by Deacon Bernard’s humility.

“Chuck Bernard was a humble servant; he was always very unassuming,” she said. “For a while when we were short staffed, he actually sat at the front desk and answered phones at night. Sometimes, it got a little boring, so he would sit there waiting for the phone calls to come in, making rosaries while he was sitting there. He was just a wonderful, wonderful man.”

Deacon Bernard is preceded in death by his son Robert and daughter-in-law Lori. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marie, six children, 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Visitation will be 1-4 p.m. Feb. 7 at White Funeral Home in Apple Valley.

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Category: Obituaries