Hot and Humid for the Novena

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SCRANTON -- Worshipers at St. Ann's novena in Scranton's west side are used to taking cover either in really hot temperatures or in the midst of a sudden thunderstorm, and it appears this week is no exception.

By midday, the heat was on outside St. Ann's Basilica in Scranton during the second day of the solemn novena.

The novena is a must for many Catholics, and typically falls on one of the calendar's hottest week of the summer. A light breeze was barely noticeable, especially with the humidity.

"The time of year, I would say the time of year it has to be hot for it to be novena," said Chris Lazor of Scranton.

Every year it seems the solemn novena is a sweltering novena in the city's west side. Folks all up and down the hill at St. Ann's Basilica enjoy mass but at the same time, they're sweating it out.

"It's always hot for St. Ann's; we always get thundershowers," said Beverly Bartalotta.

Dark skies were closing in on this hilltop house of worship and many who were outside for communion hoped the heavens wouldn't open during mass.

"We're not going to get rained on today, not while we're here," said Bartalotta. "Just being here, the peace, the quiet, so much going on in the world. This is great."

As soon as mass ended, a storm blew through, with torrential rain and cracks of lightning. But most everyone had already left and the ones who hadn't, waited it out.

"It came on all of a sudden, all of a sudden it came on," said Ken Quigley.

And as quickly as the storm came, it went, returning cooler air to the solemn novena which can expect more heat this week, every bit part of this holy tradition.

For anyone dealing with heat-related issues, a medical team is stationed just outside the basilica.

More information on the Solemn Novena to St. Ann in Scranton is posted here.

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