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home : features : people of faith

4/20/2017 9:00:00 AM
NEWLY BAPTIZED
Father-daughter duo reflect on joining the Catholic Church
THE SCOFIELDS
THE SCOFIELDS
BY KATHLEEN LAMANNA
STAFF WRITER

"It's just me and my daughter," Leo Scofield told The Evangelist. Mr. Scofield, a taxi driver in Saratoga, and his daughter, Novella, were just baptized into the Catholic Church at St. Mary's parish in Ballston Spa.

When Novella was little, the duo attended the Mormon Church. However, they found it to be too centered on the family unit, proving difficult for the single father and his daughter. They eventually stopped attending and lived without a faith community for several years.

Mr. Scofield had given up, he said. He gives credit for his newfound Catholic faith to his daughter.

"Faith is something you can't see or feel," he said. Novella "just led me on a different path that I wasn't expecting. She has a good faith. I don't know where it came from, but I'm thankful for it."

It was in 2015 when Novella started asking her father questions about faith. She remembered when they used to get up early on Sunday mornings to go to church. Her interest led the duo to search for a new church.

Together, the father and daugh­ter attended Mass at local Meth­o­dist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. Eventually, Mr. Scofield called St. Mary's, hoping that Catholicism might be the more traditional faith system he was hoping for.

Novella, a 16-year-old junior at Ballston Spa High School, told The Evangelist that developing her faith with her father has brought them closer as a family. Together, they went through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program, learning about the intricacies of the Church.

"My dad and I talk about it all the time," Novella said. If one of them had a question on a Scripture reading or didn't quite understand a sacrament, they were able to talk about it and gain a clearer understanding together.

The pair also read from the Bible and pray together every night before bed.

"It gives us both a better understanding about everything," Novella said.

Mr. Scofield said he appreciates the accepting nature of the Catholic Church, noting that other communities he experienced were too focused on tithing. As a single dad, he explained, money can often be tight, but he never feels guilty contributing just what he can to the offertory collection at Mass at St. Mary's.

For Novella, developing her faith has made her a more forgiving person. "With learning about it, I have gotten better at it," she said. "I like the teachings of the Church. It's how I live."

Although the Scofields are now officially members of the Catholic Church, they don't plan on slowing down their learning anytime soon.

"We are like sponges right now," Mr. Scofield joked. Faith "hasn't been a part of our lives, so [now,] we are just observing everything we possibly can."





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