Funeral Mass for Deacon Gilbert Parra is Tuesday, March 14 at Sacred Heart Church in Sacramento

Deacon Gilbert Parra, who was ordained to the permanent diaconate in 1981 with the first class of permanent deacons for the Diocese of Sacramento, died on March 2. He served the Diocese of Sacramento for nearly 40 years. He was 87.

Bishop Jaime Soto will preside at a funeral Mass for Deacon Parra on Tuesday, March 14 at 10:30 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church, 1040 39th St. in Sacramento. The rite of committal service will be held that same day at 3 p.m. at St. Mary Cemetery, 6509 Fruitridge Road in Sacramento.

A rosary service will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, March 13 at Ncoletti, Culjis and Herberger Funeral Home, 5401 Folsom Blvd. in Sacramento.

Deacon Parra was born in French Camp, California to Jose Parra and Concepcion Rodriguez Parra. He served with the 82nd Airborne for 16 months in Korea. He graduated with an associate degree and went to work for Aero-Jet General, where he was assigned to the Polaris Missile Project.

In April 1967, he began working for UC Davis in the School of Engineering, in charge of the drafting department for the next 25 years.

He served Sacred Heart Parish as a deacon from 1981 until his official retirement in 1998, but continued on serving the parish until March 2020. He also was spiritual director of the Legion of Mary and regularly conducted Communion services at nearby assisted care homes. He was in charge of the baptism preparation program at Sacred Heart and baptized nearly all of the children at the parish during his years of service, said Mary Parra, his daugther-in-law. "Given his length of service, he was even baptizing the babies of babies he had baptized," she noted. He also served as master of ceremonies for the late Auxiliary Bishop Alphonse Gallegos.

Deacon Parra is survived by his wife of 59 years, Helen; a brother, Tony; four sons, Matthew, Thomas, Jerome (wife Mary) and Peter (wife Alison); and daughter, Anne Marie (Meecie). He is also survived by his grandchildren: Cameron, Joshua, Dominic, Adam and Madeline.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared for the Parra family at