Last updated: October 24. 2013 6:03PM - 1155 Views
JOE SYLVESTER jsylvester@timesleader.com

Jaclyn DeNardi and Sara Justave prepare one of the props in the Corpus Christi Parish's Haunted Rectory in Harding.
Jaclyn DeNardi and Sara Justave prepare one of the props in the Corpus Christi Parish's Haunted Rectory in Harding.
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What: Haunted Rectory

When: 7:30 to 11 tonight and Saturday night

Where: Former Holy Redeemer Church rectory, 2435 Route 92, Harding

Cost: $3

Benefit: Proceeds will help pay costs related to medical treatment of youth-group member Eric Speicher of West Pittston

More info: 570-654-2753

The place has been empty for some time.

Who knows what’s going on inside, but you can find out for yourself, if you dare.

You’re expected to have a good scare or two in the Haunted Rectory. It’s all for a good cause, though.

The creepy goings-on will take place tonight and Saturday night in the former Holy Redeemer Church rectory in Harding. The rectory is no longer used as living quarters for clergy since that church and Immaculate Conception Church in West Pittston merged three years ago to form Corpus Christi Parish.

Because the rectory was empty, it was perfect for what church members had in mind.

“The youth group and adult volunteers have been working on this the past six to eight weeks,” said Kim Rollman, a parish volunteer. “A lot of the items being used were donated by members of the church. They put the word out to parish members. The youth group members are making zombies, setting up the cemetery.”

The display will benefit an ill parish youth group member and his family.

Eric Speicher Jr., 14, of West Pittston, learned in June 2011 that he has anaplastic grade 3 ependymoma, a type of brain cancer, and is undergoing treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

“A group at the church was trying to figure out what they could do for Halloween,” Rollman said. “They wanted to get the kids involved. They said if we’re going to do this, we might as well do it for Eric.”

Though churches sometimes tend to steer clear of such Halloween displays, Corpus Christi members decided to focus on the fun aspect — and the cause it is helping.

“We questioned that when we started to plan it,” Rollman noted.

But there have been no complaints or resistance, she said.

“It’s all in fun, and it’s a youth-group project for a good cause,” she said.

It will help with the Speichers’ expenses related to Eric’s treatment. A lot of those are travel costs.

“Because of the back and forth and the commitment to travel and treatment, Eric’s mom had to quit her job,” Rollman added.

Eric’s mom, Jessica Speicher, said she and husband, Eric Sr., like any parents, are doing everything they can to help their son.

“We look at it that we’re taking him to the best place we can,” she said. “Sloan has a very good reputation. We can deal with the trials; we can deal with the traveling.”

They appreciate what they have today “because you never know what tomorrow’s going to bring.”

And they really appreciate what the church youth group is doing for them.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “I think it’s pretty cool these kids are thinking about somebody else and not themselves at this age.”

She toured the Haunted Rectory and found the downstairs downright scary.

“I’m not a haunted-house fan, so thankfully, they left the lights on for me,” she said. “I said I’m willing to help; I’m just going to help outside.”

A tour through the Haunted Rectory begins with the Parlor of Death, set up in the first room like a funeral home with a coffin. The dining room is littered with body parts. The tour continues into the basement Dungeon of Doom and Creepy Crawly Room.

“Don’t be surprised if you encounter several zombies along the way,” Rollman warned.

Those zombies are youth-group members, or so she claimed.

But the Haunted Rectory is adaptable to young children, too.

“They don’t want to discourage young children from coming,” Rollman said. “If young children are coming, they’ll group them by age, so it won’t be as scary.”

And after the 5:30 p.m. Mass Saturday evening at Holy Redeemer Church, at which children are encouraged to wear their costumes, the children are invited to a pizza party at the church hall and then welcome to go to the Haunted Rectory.

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