Deacon James Carra; Vietnam veteran, deacon for 14 years - Catholic Courier

Deacon James Carra; Vietnam veteran, deacon for 14 years

Deacon James Carra, a longtime member of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Mendon, died Oct. 30, 2023. He was 75.

“He was a bright light,” remarked Father Robert Bourcy, pastor at St. Catherine of Siena and Pittsford’s Church of the Transfiguration.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Deacon Carra served for more than 15 years as the director of the Monroe County Veterans Service Agency. He discerned a calling to the permanent diaconate in the early 2000s, according to Deacon Larry Feasel, a fellow Vietnam War veteran who served as Deacon Carra’s spiritual director for many years.

During his formation process, Deacon Carra served at Rochester General Hospital, Rochester Psychiatric Center and St. Monica Parish, as well as in New Orleans. He enjoyed the experience of serving these various populations even while he looked forward to completing his formation, Deacon Feasel said.

Deacon Carra was ordained May 30, 2009, by Bishop Matthew H. Clark at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester.

“He was so thrilled to be ordained,” Deacon Feasel recalled.

After his ordination, Deacon Carra served at St. Joseph Parish in Rush, which in 2012 merged with Guardian Angels and Good Shepherd parishes to form St. Marianne Cope Parish.

Deacon Carra later served at Church of the Transfiguration and St. Catherine of Siena, where he and his wife, Josephine, have been parishioners since 1988. When the coronavirus pandemic forced parishes throughout the diocese to close their doors in 2020, Deacon Carra began writing brief daily reflections on Scripture passages and emailing them to parishioners.

“That was a big part of his daily ministry. He sent out inspiration and hope to folks. Everybody really appreciated it,” Father Bourcy said.

“What a consolation that was,” Deacon Feasel added, noting that Deacon Carra continued to write the reflections even as he battled cancer. He never let the disease overwhelm him and focused his efforts on serving others, Deacon Feasel said.

“He was a man who was committed always to service. That was Jim to the ultimate degree. … He was a great blessing,” Deacon Feasel said.

In addition to his wife, Deacon Carra is survived by his children, Jim A. (Joan) Carra Jr., Jennifer (Eric Whalen) Carra and Samantha (Ben) Crowe; his grandchildren, Mackenzie Carra (Nicole Phillips) and Haley Carra (Liam Collins); great-grandsons, Luca Carra and Theodore Carra-Collins; brother, David (Carrie) Carra; sister-in-law, Maria Grant; and several nieces, nephews, aunts and cousins.

Calling hours for Deacon Carra will take place Nov. 3, 2023 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Miller Funeral and Cremation Services of Victor, located at 301 W. Main St. in Victor. Deacon Carra’s funeral will take place Nov. 4, 2023, at 1 p.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Church, located at 26 Mendon Ionia Road in Mendon.

Contributions in Deacon Carra’s memory may be made to St. Catherine of Siena Church or Wilmot Cancer Center.

Tags: Deacons
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