Born ~ April 29, 1959
Ordained a Priest ~ June 4, 2005
Born to Eternal Life ~ November 28, 2016
Andrés Abel Parra Balderrama was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on April 29, 1959, one of three children of Refugio Parra Romero and Josefina Balderrama Ochoa.
Father Parra attended elementary and high schools in Mexico. He completed paramedic school in Chihuahua, Mexico at Tecnico Radiologo and studied at the Xaverian Missionaries’ seminary in Guadalajara and at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio. Before his entrance into the seminary, he had worked at Teleconstructora as a telephone line installer.
As a seminarian studying for the Diocese of San Jose, Father Parra served his pastoral year at Sacred Heart Parish, Saratoga. At that time, he noted that “Becoming a priest is the fulfillment of the greatest longing of my life. The priesthood is a calling from God. It is an opportunity to share with Jesus Christ the mission He established.” He chose to serve in San Jose because “the Diocese of San Jose gave me the opportunity to be a seminarian and to serve Latino people, as well as the Anglo people.” Father Parra credited his parents’ example of unity in the family, which gave him the principles of faith, which guided his entire life.
Father Parra was ordained by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath on June 4, 2005. His assignments as a priest included service at the following San Jose parishes: Saint John Vianney, Our Lady of La Vang, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish and Saint Julie, with the majority of his ministry at Sacred Heart of Jesus in a number of different assignments. It was at Sacred Heart (Sagrado Corazón de Jesús) that he made most of his friends in San Jose.
Parishioners and friends remember him as a humble priest always ready to serve the community with generosity and compassion.
On July 1, 2016, Father Parra began a medical leave.
He died in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Monday, November 28, and his Funeral Mass was celebrated at Santa Margarita Reyna Parish. Burial followed at the cemetery of Altagracia in Zapopan. Father Parra is survived by his sister, Manuela, his brother José Refugio, his cousin, Carmen, and other family members.
A diocesan Memorial Mass was celebrated at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish on December 10.