SCRANTON -- Thousands will visit Scranton this week to worship, meet with friends, or honor tradition at the Solemn Novena to St. Ann.
Some Roman Catholics visit the novena for a specific reason -- they are looking for a prayer to be answered.
The faithful say, during novena week, they find an oasis in West Scranton.
Jack O'Malley of Scranton took a break to do some reading at St. Ann's Basilica and found some inspiration.
"One of the key passages reads: 'Faith transforms the earth into paradise.'"
O'Malley was reading Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean Pierre de Caussade.
By that logic, paradise is here along St. Ann Street in mid-July when thousands of Catholics visit the basilica to honor St. Ann, the grandmother of Jesus.
"This is heaven. Just look at the beauty of it. Just look at the flowers," O'Malley said. "I watch people go by and they pause and look, and you could look over at the east mountain, and it's that place on the hill, that holy place on the hill. How close to heaven can you be?"
Some people hope the power of this place can answer prayers.
Kim Bird brought her niece McKenzie Walsh to fulfill a long-time family tradition.
"She's praying for Nana to feel better," said Bird. "Mom had some health issues. My mom has never missed a novena in 76 years, so we're praying for her health, and anyone else, and all the intentions of everyone who comes here every year."
Joseph and Janet Romano also came with someone specific in mind. They say praying to St. Ann has worked before.
"It's just satisfying coming here and praying for people who need prayers that you can offer them. And particularly, I have some friends who have had cancer. And one got cured, and one is still in the stage and hopefully, she will get cured, too," said Joseph Romano.
The Solemn Novena to St. Ann continues through July 26 with at least four services each day.