SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An annual pilgrimage of faith is underway for the 98th year in Scranton. Each year, thousands journey to Saint Ann’s Basilica for the Solemn Novena to Saint Ann.

Tuesday night’s mass focused on the divine liturgy of the byzantine rite.

For nearly a century worshippers have come together from all over to take part in Saint Ann’s Novena in Scranton’s west side.

They gather at the catholic church’s only national shrine and basilica church dedicated to the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus.

“I think every day is a gift from God and I’m one who likes to be open in the spirit and this is where the Lord leads me, so the weather is not an impediment,” said Maureen Klees of Hop Bottom.

On a hot summer day, Tuesday’s service included the divine liturgy of the byzantine rite. For many, it’s an important and historic place for healing. A yearly faith pilgrimage they’ve been making since they were children.

“My grandfather would bring us here, it didn’t matter if it was 100 degrees. And it’s always the hottest week of the summer,” said Mike White of Scranton.

And this year is no different, with temperatures in the 90s. Coordinators of the novena are prepared. Emergency crews are on standby just in case.

“They’re available if somebody falls weak or if somebody sees somebody that is not feeling well. We call them. We’ve had a few individuals over the past few years where things happen and they’re here for the benefit of making sure everybody stays safe and well during the novena,” said Brian Hallock, Coordinator of Saint Ann’s Novena.

Extra protection, as people say their prayers.