The Church of the Epiphany in Sayre played home Sunday to what organizers hope will be the first of a series of spiritual concerts.

"The Year of Faith: Songs of Inspiration" featured performers from the church's music ministry as well as about 25 musicians from other parishes, said pastor Fr. Andrew Hvozdovic. A good will offering at the concert will help to fund the parish's music ministry as well as the establishment of an emergency assistance fund, he said.

The Epiphany Parish Emergency Assistance Fund will help those in the Valley area facing tragedy and hardship, in addition to what other local organizations such as The Bridge of the Penn-York Valley Churches can offer, Hvozdovic said. Those who benefit from the fund don't have to be members of the church, he said.

Performers sang popular spiritual songs and hymns, and two groups of friars performed. The church welcomed the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, hailing from Maine, N.Y., and the Schola Sanctae Mariae Assumptae of Binghamton, N.Y.

Parishioner Cathy Russo organized the concert, which drew about 200 people Sunday afternoon. "It was a dream of mine to do something like this for years," she said.

With Hvozdovic's encouragement, Russo organized the concert initially to support the parish's music ministry. As the offering grew to include the newly organized emergency fund, interest in the concert continued to gain momentum. Russo even had to turn away some performers, Hvozdovic said.

"I'm overwhelmed by the response," Russo said. "I feel very grateful."

Officials are already planning a second concert for the fall, Hvozdovic said, and Russo added that hopefully Sunday's performance was "the first of many."

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: