When Terrance and Alejandra Ealey are received into full communion with the Catholic Church during the April 20 Easter Vigil Mass at St. Joseph Parish in Largo, Maryland, the couple will also be “married” at the same Mass.

The Ealeys – who between the two of them will receive all the sacraments of initiation, Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation – will have their marriage validated in what Terrance called “a very important event for us that brings us closer to God on this holy date.”

“We are excited to go on this spiritual journey together,” he said. “Ironically, being civilly married had its perks on us as individuals but, being confirmed and married into the Church together is a much more rewarding step knowing that we are truly equally yoked before God and in this world together for the long haul.”

The Ealeys are among the nearly 1,100 people across Archdiocese of Washington who will join the Church during the Easter Vigil. Terrance will be baptized, confirmed and receive First Holy Communion. Alejandra will be confirmed.

The couple has two sons, Terrance Jr. (TJ) who is 4, and Gavin, who is 1. Both boys are already baptized and being raised Catholic. “They enjoy attending Mass and behave well for their age during it,” Alejandra said. “Sometimes, TJ plays at home that he is offering Mass.”

For Terrance, a policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Justice who was raised in the Baptist faith and later joined the Methodist Church, the journey to the Catholic faith began with “a longing to be closer to Christ – and that is something that I have always struggled with under other denominations.”

He added that “with my wife and children being baptized Catholic, I found it important that my entire household practiced one faith.” He said that as he studied the Catholic faith he discovered “I like the sense of purpose that I have found as a father and man of God.”

Alejandra, a native of Colombia, noted that while she was born “in a mainly Catholic country,” her parents left the Church.

“They taught my siblings and me that we could choose any religion or no religion. I chose to be a Catholic at the age of 14 and I got baptized and received First Communion as well,” she said.

She said that when she moved to the United States at the age of 21 with her mother and younger brother, it was “a time of hardship, (and) we joined the Baptist Church for a while. But, it was always strange because of the omissions of the Virgin and saints.”

The couple credits the parishioners and staff at St. Joseph Parish for helping them on their faith journey

“What I like the most about my ‘renewed’ Catholic faith is my parish, St. Joseph,” Alejandra said. “There is a great sense of community and increased faith that I haven't seen anywhere else. I always struggled (before) finding a parish for me to stay.”

“Bishop Roy Campbell (pastor of St. Joseph’s); Father Robert Boxie, (the parochial vicar), Deacon Steven Nash, Deacon Patrick Mullan and the entire church family were not only inviting but, seemed genuinely concerned about the souls of our family,” Terrance added.

As they prepared to be received into the Church, the Ealeys said they were grateful for what they learned.

“The breadth of information and the knowledge that we have acquired during this time enlightens us think more about our faith, while also challenging us to look deeper into what we truly believe and want for our family,” Terrance said.