By Seth Gonzales
The Texas Catholic
A lifetime of prayer, curiosity and learning is about to bear some major fruit for Steve Daily and his family. On March 26, Daily, his wife Becky, his daughter Natalia and son Connor will all enter the Catholic Church as a family during Easter Vigil Mass at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church in McKinney.
“I think I’ve always been a Catholic,” said Steve, whose journey to the church has taken him through the Baptist, Lutheran and Methodist denominations. “I’ve explained that I’ve come to my faith through logic first, and then the emotions have followed and reaffirmed that.”
The Daily family will be among several thousand who will be welcomed into various parishes within the Diocese of Dallas at the Easter Vigil Masses, according to statistics provided to the diocese’s Office of Worship. Those will include 810 children and 337 adult catechumens who will be baptized, confirmed and will receive their first Holy Communion; 892 Catholics (243 children and 649 adults) who will be confirmed and receive first Holy Communion; and 301 other Christians who will enter into full communion with the Catholic Church and will be confirmed and receive first Holy Communion.
The couple have taken different paths to the Catholic faith but said, in retrospect, they see God’s fingerprints all over their respective journeys.
Born in Nebraska, Steve grew up in Iowa and was raised in the Baptist church. His faith and curiosity began to deepen as early as 10 after a “born again” experience. One of his most memorable brushes with Catholicism came in 1979, when St. John Paul II visited Iowa. He said he and his family were incredulous that everything seemed to come to a halt for the late pontiff’s visit.
In 1982, while attending Grand Island School of Business, he met Becky. It was the same school where his parents and grandparents had met. Steve and Becky married three years later and soon began a life together in Kansas City.
While working as a paralegal in Kansas City, Becky said she was approached by a temporary worker who was pregnant and wanted to give the child up for adoption. She asked Becky and Steve to become the adoptive parents.
Becky said she believes it was God’s way of nudging them down the path of adoption. Only months after moving to Florida, the couple adopted two Russian children from Belarus – Natalia and Connor.
All the while, the couple continued to nurture their faith through their Methodist church in Florida. After hearing a musical composed by the church’s music minister on the life of the apostle Peter, Becky said she began to understand and become more open towards Catholicism.
“It made me have this conscious realization that Peter in fact was the rock, and looking back on that musical I realized it was pulling me towards the true church,” Becky said. “That musical helped not just me, but the kids realize that Peter was this fallible, pious, grubby fisherman who asked, ‘What would the Messiah want of me?’ ”
By this time, Steve had already become an avid listener of Catholic radio. He was especially drawn to EWTN’s Mother Angelica and later to the talks and sermons of Father John Riccardo and then-Father and now Bishop Robert Barron.
“That style was very calming, very reassuring, very confident, but not judgmental,” Steve said.
When the couple moved to Plano in 2005, they sent Connor to a preschool program at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, even though the family still belonged to a Methodist church.
It wasn’t until their move to McKinney in 2007 that Steve discovered St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church and immediately felt a sense of peace. On Sept. 6, 2015, after participating in the parish’s Christ Renews His Parish weekend, Steve brought his family to Mass at St. Gabriel for the first time.
The Daily family began faith formation classes last fall.
“Steve is one of those rare men who takes on the role of being the religious head of your household; he actually fills that role,” Becky said “There are not many men who do that anymore.He took the lead and found a faith that he grew to understand and love.”
Initially skeptical, Natalia and Connor said they have grown to love the faith and are excited about joining the church on Easter Vigil. One of Connor’s high school friends even volunteered to be his sponsor.
While his career and faith have taken him many places, Steve said he believes the Catholic Church, and St. Gabriel, in particular, will be a permanent home for his family.
“Standing there in Mass, people have been doing this for 2,000 years,” he said. “For me, it just brought a sense of peace, that ‘you’re where you belong.’ ”