SCRANTON — Tens of thousands of the faithful are expected in Scranton this week. The annual novena to St. Ann began Tuesday morning.
The first service at the basilica in West Scranton was held at the outside altar. Most of those watching were under a tent, as a shield from the sun.
Many of the people attend the novena every summer including Anne Kulick of Scranton.
“I have great faith in St. Ann,” said Kulick. “She’s helped me a lot and this is my way of honoring her, by making the novenas.”
There’s a lot of history and tradition at the novena. After all, it is nearly 90 years old. One man said he believes they should use all that history to build a stronger church in the future.
While many of the people in attendance were older, there were some young faces in the crowd. Andy Franks of Jermyn believes that is important.
“The younger generation, they’re falling away from the church and this type of novena brings the younger generation back to the church,” said Franks.
The coordinator for the novena believes it is everything there — the outdoor services, the grounds, the stations of the cross, people able to attend services without leaving their cars — that makes the novena unique and popular.
“It’s a new way to increase your faith and your devotion to St. Ann and it’s why people keep coming back again and again,” said Brian Hallock.
In its 88th year, the novena can still draw a crowd, and the people there say they’ll return every year, as long as they’re able.
The novena continues until July 26, the feast day of St. Ann.