SCRANTON – It is the final day of the nine day long Solemn Novena at St. Ann’s Basilica in Scranton, a day filled with specialized services for the many cultures in our area, Solvak, Italian, Lithuanian and Polish.
Songs and prayers, all said in different native tongues. Faithful gathered at St. Ann’s Basilica on her feast day after nine days of prayer, for a celebration full of culture.
Father James Price says this Polish Celebration is a small part of the rich Novena tradition.
“We still have their services, they`re very small, much smaller groups than they used to be but they`re also, it`s a nice way to kind of highlight someone`s heritage. As we all should do,” said Rector of St. Ann’s Basilica, Fr. Jim Price, C.P.
Many of the faithful praying here say the Heritage Masses take them back to their childhood, and remind them of their cultural roots.
“It really does remind me very much, very much and I hope we could keep it going,” said Marie Idah Margalis of Cunningham Township.
This is the 89th Novena here in Scranton’s West Side. Marion Samselski says she’s happy to make the pilgrimage here from her home parish in Nanticoke.
“I`ve been doing this since when I was a kid, I even worked here when I was a kid, it`s just a special day for us,” said Samselski.
Those who attended this polish service and others throughout the Novena here at St. Ann`s say it`s brought them comfort.
“It`s a certain feeling kind of around here on the grounds, the whole grounds, it`s just a nice thing,” said Verneda Pajor of Nanticoke.
Throughout the Novena, about 5,500 visited this Basilica in Scranton each day, praying to St. Ann for their family, the sick and help in their daily lives.
“Everybody has some kind of problems and she helps everyone right,” said Samselski.
And as the Novena comes to a close, many can’t help but notice Mother Nature is finally cooperating.
“I really have enjoyed the whole day, and we picked a perfect weather day,” said Pajor.
The Novena comes to a close tonight with a mass right outside here on the lawn celebrated by Bishop Bambera. That Celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. at St. Ann’s in Scranton.