Advent is a season of hope and anticipation leading up to the celebration of Christ's birth.
For the third year, the Altoona Area Christian Coalition will hold an ecumenical service at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament to celebrate the Season of Hope.
"It is a service of lessons and songs, carols and prayers," said Monsignor Robert C. Mazur, rector of the Cathedral.
(Courtesy photo) Nick Lonsinger and Makayla Allen of Faith United Church of Christ light the Advent candle at last year’s Season of Hope service held at the Cathedral.
As in the past, community leaders will read Scripture and prayers.
Among them will be Judge Jolene Kopriva and Fire Chief Reynold D. Santone Jr. Dr. Regino J. Flores will represent the medical community.
Representing the education community will be Norman J. Miller, assistant superintendent for secondary education at Altoona Area School District, and Joan Grassi, director of South Hills School of Business and Technology, Altoona Campus.
The business community is represented by James Blodis, senior road foreman of engines, Norfolk Southern Railroad; Fred Simanski, Allegheny Glass and Mirror; and Patrick Irwin, vice president of Leonard S. Fiore Inc., Altoona.
Blair County Sheriff Mitch Cooper will read the Gospel message.
Reflections on Scripture will be given by the Rev. Paul Towers, rector at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Dr. Keith Kensinger, a retired minister who has served with the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA.
Bishop Joseph V. Adamec of the Catholic Dicosese of Altoona-Johnstown will preside.
The Rev. Richard Henry, a retired United Church of Christ minister, will start the liturgy. He said it is a blessing to see members of the community involved in a service focusing on hope.
Other clergy taking part in the event are the Rev. Towanda Acey of Jaggard and First United Methodist churches, Pastor Cory Hartman of First Bapist Church in Hollidaysburg, the Rev. Rebecca Zeek of Twenty-eighth Street Church of the Brethren and the Rev. K. Joy Kaufmann, general Presbyter of the Presbytry of Huntingdon, Presbyterian Church USA.
An ecumenical choir, under the direction of Cathedral music director Nicholas Will, will provide music.
"Advent is the Christian season for hope," Mazure said. "The City of Altoona gathers to remind ourselves to share that hope within the community as we extend welcome and hospitality to both our neighbor and the stranger."
"We call upon the coming Prince of Peace to grace us with genuine concern for all God's people."