SCRANTON, Pa. -- The 94th Solemn Novena to St. Ann draws thousands of faithful to the basilica in West Scranton each summer.
"We guesstimate that there’s about 4,000 people a day that come on the grounds, and then the feast day we have quite a few more. I would say between 6,000 and 10,000 just on that day with all the different Masses,” said Brian Hallock, novena coordinator.
Christians believe St. Ann was Jesus' grandmother. The novena is a religious pilgrimage for Catholics marked by daily Masses and novena services. It has become a summer tradition for many.
"I come here every year. I get excited. It's the middle of the summer. I see a lot of people here,” said Doreen Didario of Moosic.
"Every year, I look forward to it and every year, I try to be home to come to it, so it's a beautiful blessing. I don't think you have to tour Europe like my daughter did because it's all right here,” laughed Kathy Pfister of Clarks Summit.
In all, more than 10,000 are expected to visit St. Ann's for the prayers, the friendship, and the food. The basilica and the grounds are ready for the crowd.
"It's a beautiful pilgrimage in our own backyard!" said Pfister.
The novena ends on July 26, the feast day of St. Ann.