LUZERNE – Beautiful music, fitting for the days leading into Christmas, filled Holy Family Church on Thursday, Dec. 8, as a popular Advent service of Word and Song continued for another year.

“We Long for You, O Lord,” was the theme of this year’s event, which featured the combined choir of voices from Holy Family and Saint Ignatius Parishes in Luzerne County and from the Dunmore parishes of Saints Anthony & Rocco and Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

“Separately we are all very good choirs. We all have wonderful music ministries in these parishes, but together, we are so much more,” Linda Houck, Director of Worship/Business Manager at Holy Family Parish, said. “I think some of that is the shared faith, the shared preparation for Christmas and we have people who are in our choirs who look forward to this every year.”

This year’s joint choir featured a combined 38 voices.

“It is a tremendous sound,” Houck added.

In addition to featuring the choral reflections, several soloists and an instrumental ensemble, the Advent service also features numerous scripture readings.

Many people who attend the free event come back year after year.

“There really is a longing in everyone’s heart,” Houck said as she reflected on this year’s theme. “What we find as we progress through the Advent season and into Christmas is that longing is really satisfied in God. That is what we celebrate at Christmas and that is what we are preparing to do.”

Father David Cappelloni started the Advent tradition 13 years ago when he was pastor at Holy Family Parish. When he moved to Dunmore in 2007, he had the idea to create the multicounty service.

“He said wouldn’t it be a great idea to combine our efforts and do an Advent service together and we did,” Houck explained. “People have made crosscounty friendships and they’re participating in something that is bigger than just their parish.”

In addition to Holy Family Parish, the Advent service of Word and Song was also presented on Sunday, Dec. 11 in Dunmore.