SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Over the last nine days, thousands have journeyed to Saint Ann’s Basilica in Scranton for Saint Ann’s Novena.
For nearly a century, worshippers have come together from all over the world to take part in St. Ann’s Novena. Today is the last day of the novena, known as St. Ann’s Feast Day, which started with an early morning pilgrimage.
“We take our own pace, we talk along the way, and before you know it, 8 miles passes and we’re ready to celebrate the first mass of the feast day,” Father Jeffery Walsh, the Vicar for Clergy at the Diocese of Scranton said.
“It gives you such a good feeling to be able to once a year make this pilgrimage and take all the people with us who may not still be living, or maybe can’t make it for some other reason,” Domenica Matuszewski of Old Forge said.
Devoted Catholic groups start their trek all over the area to honor St. Ann, who Catholics believe is the Grandmother of Jesus.
“The faith probably sustains it, the devotion of St. Ann. And she shower’s her blessings upon the people, and the people recognize that,” Al Leonard of Pittston said.
“Just seeing the sacrifice they made to get up early and come out here just reminds you that, you know, faith is something that is important to so many people,” Teresa James of Tobyhanna said.
Although people participate in novena for different reasons, the devotion remains the same.
“They’re looking for a message that applies to their own personal faith, their own personal healing. They still have a strong devotion to St. Ann and they’re trying to figure out how it applies to everyday life,” Father Rob Carbonneau, Passionist Priest and Historian at Saint Ann’s Basilica said.
There will be a number of masses throughout the day with a solemn closing at 7:30 pm.