With three generations attending Mater Dolorosa, one 15-year-old boy wanted to do something proactive and something sweet to save his church from closing its doors forever. And what's sweeter than candy bars?
Chase Willard, of Williamsport, began selling candy bars in early March. He goes door-to-door with his box, bearing a sign that reads "Save Mater Dolorosa Church."
"I came up with (the idea) to help out the church," Willard said. He wanted to sell the candy bars because the church means so much to his grandmother, Dorothy Esposito Wright, of Loyalsock Township.
Chase Willard, 15, right, is shown with his grandmother Dorothy Esposito Wright, left, and mother Rhonda Santalucia.
His grandmother, mother, aunts, uncles and cousins all attend the church. His great-grandparents had their funerals at Mater Dolorosa.
"It's a connection to a whole lot of families," said the ninth grader at Williamsport Area High School.
Wright was baptized in the church and used to volunteer as an altar boy when he was younger.
Each batch of candy bars has 66 of the chocolate treats and Wright is on his third box of them.
He chose candy bars because he said they were the easiest to sell. He had experience in selling them from when he did it for school and Boy Scouts.
His goal for the sale is to raise about $100. In just a few weeks, he sold about $40 worth.
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., congregants gather at Mater Dolorosa to pray for the church to stay open.
Originally the church was set to close last October, but the parish filed for an appeal to keep it open for now. This week the diocese confirmed it will close in early July, but members continue to do all they can to stop that from happening.
"Anything we can do to help the church," Rhonda Santalucia, Wright's mother, said.