SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — For the 97th year people are starting their morning walking for miles on end to show their dedication to their faith.
Monday marks the Feast Day of Saint Anne and Saint Joachim who Catholics honor as the grandparents of Jesus.
“Faith is important to all of us. Whether you go to church or not, quite frankly. Faith is very important and our area’s tradition is around faith and around the St. Anne’s Novena. It’s important to keep that tradition alive” says Deacon Gerry Pernot.
The novena has been going on for nearly 100 years and people like Rita Skechus from Duryea have been walking for generations.
“I started it with my mother way back, I don’t want to say what year, but I was in middle school and we used to walk up neighborhood kids and we walked. You know my mother was a great walker, great in her faith. We used to walk to the novena back then.”
People take the sidewalks going from the national basilica to Saint Anne in West Scranton. Eyewitness News spoke with some people on Main Street in Taylor who began walking as early as 11:30 Sunday night. For many, like Carol Trzcinski, they say it’s all about tradition
“I was brought up here many years ago with my parents as a little girl and I was named after St. Anne, Carol Anne and she’s the patron saint of grandmothers so I relate to that as a grandmother. That’s my favorite role.”
Masses and novena services began at 4:30 a.m. and will continue throughout Monday culminating with a closing Mass and novena lead by Bishop Joseph Bambera at 7:30 p.m.
People are thrilled to continue the tradition after a restrictive past year due to the pandemic. There are still some restrictions in place, like outdoor tents won’t be set up, but people say they are just excited to be back to mostly normal.