Father Silvio Kaberia appointed episcopal vicar for Western Vicariate

Father Silvio Kaberia prepares to give the homily at the 1 p.m. Mass in Spanish on Dec. 10, 2023, the 2nd Sunday of Advent. (Photo submitted)

As the new episcopal vicar of the Western Vicariate, Father Silvio Kaberia, pastor of Blessed Sacrament, Harrisonburg, will be bringing the experience of more than 40 years as a priest.

Before he came to the United States over 20 years ago, Father Kaberia served as vicar general in the Diocese of Isiolo in Kenya, where his job was to represent and work hand-in-glove with the bishop.

Father Silvio Kaberia

“It was a lot of responsibility, a lot of work, and a lot of consultation with the bishop,” said Father Kaberia. “It more or less prepared me for this.”

“An episcopal vicar represents the bishop in a certain region, because the diocese is so big,” Father Kaberia continued. “He gives you responsibilities, what he wants you to do in a certain area.”

Father Kaberia’s appointment took effect June 19. Father Eric Ayers, pastor of St. Bede, Williamsburg, is vicar for the Eastern Vicariate; Father Ken Shuping, pastor of St. Bridget, Richmond, is vicar for the Central Vicariate.

The Western Vicariate is further split into five deaneries and includes 52 parishes. The territory stretches from Harrisonburg to Jonesville to Danville. Part of the job description is dealing with issues that arise in any of those 52 parishes.

“It’s a challenge, because the area is very big,” said Father Kaberia. “There are challenges for small parishes. Some priests are taking care of two parishes – others three, others four.”

In addition, Father Kaberia anticipates a variety in the kinds of challenges parishes face. While some parishes are small, there are others, like his own flock at Blessed Sacrament, that are much larger.

Father Kaberia says that while his duties as a pastor will continue, he is fortunate to have two parochial vicars, Father David Arellano and Father Charles Mbazzi, to help him with duties at his own parish.

“It’s a lot of responsibility,” Father Kaberia said, “but I serve at the pleasure of the bishop.”

In announcing the appointment, Bishop Barry C. Knestout expressed his “sincere gratitude to Father Kevin Segerblom for his dedication and faithful service as episcopal vicar of the Western Vicariate for the past decade.” Father Segerblom will continue in his assignment as rector of the Basilica of St. Andrew, Roanoke.

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