Dozens celebrate the first day of Solemn Novena of St. Ann in Scranton

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY ((WBRE 28/WYOU 22 EYEWITNESS NEWS) — An annual pilgrimage that attracts thousands to Scranton is back to a somewhat normal start.

The 97th annual Novena in honor of Saint Ann kicked off Saturday morning. Dozens gathered near the basilica of the national shrine for Saint Ann for an outdoor mass in Scranton’s west side.

“It’s wonderful to see this kind of faith and it’s great to see all ages,” said Father Robert Joerger, one of the guest preachers from New York.

Attracting thousands each year, people gathered once again to pray.

“This year seems more important than ever; people are getting away from the church and we need to come back we need him in our life,” said Janet Zanghi.

The theme of this year’s Novena is Lifting High the Cross, a theme Father Robert says is fitting after a tough year for everyone.

“I think people kind of need healing kind of need a break but also just to be in touch with their own hearts and what’s been happening within them, what’s important and what isn’t,” stated Father Robert.

The 10-day Novena mostly returns to normal. The church is back to full capacity, though some masses will be outdoors.

However, they will not be blessing people individually with the relic of St. Ann, but they hope to bring that back next year.

Services are held through Monday, July 26th.

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