Alumni Discuss Faith and Service at C21 Century Panel

Keeping up with one’s faith is hard in the modern digital world, especially as a college student, according to Alejandra Aquino.

“I think it’s very hard to kind of understand what Christianity really is about and how it’s relevant to you as a young person,” Aquino, BC ’17, said.

BC’s Church in the 21st Century Center hosted three alumni, Aquino, Kevin O’Brien, BC ’20, and A. Taiga Guterres on Wednesday night to discuss their personal and professional experiences with faith and service. This is one of many events for the 10th Espresso Your Faith Week, a celebration of faith that aims to highlight the gift of God in students’ lives.

The three panelists started by touching on their faith and service journeys in college and after graduation. 

Guterres said that he did not even know he was at a Catholic university when he was a freshman at BC, but he later became more involved with the church. 

 “I ended up doing the RCIA, or the Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults, and joining the Catholic Church my senior year of college.”

Guterres said he spent time in Mexico along the border serving refugees and deportees where he realized the importance of helping those in need and spreading Christian values like hope, faith, and love. His work in Mexico inspired him to complete more Jesuit service work in Belize and then return to the United States to pursue a master’s degrees in theology and ministry and social work at BC, he said. 

Aquino also spoke on her work at Ascension, a company that produces Catholic media, where she helped produce the popular podcast “The Bible in a Year” with Rev. Mike Schmitz, which had over 142 million downloads in November 2021.

“I wanted to use the kind of modern communication platforms to continue spreading the gospel … helping young people really encounter the story because I think it’s very hard to kind of understand what Christianity really is about and how it’s relevant to you as a young person,” Aquino said.

O’Brien discussed his work in the Peace Corps and in the Dominican Republic, where he said he gained valuable insight about social justice. 

“I think awareness, understanding and service, seeking to help make things better in whatever way you can, [is] really meaningful,” O’Brien said.

The three panelists then shared advice they would give to current undergraduates seeking guidance for their futures in service, their faith, and life beyond college.

Guterres described how he deals with anxiety surrounding his future, encouraging attendees to consider their futures through a Jesuit perspective.

“I think what for me has been helpful is that Jesuit sense of the process. What is my way of proceeding?” Guterres said. “Like what should I pray versus how do I be prayerful? How should I help or what should I do to help versus how can I be helpful?”

Aquino then expanded on Guterres’ advice, emphasizing the importance of love and faith.

“We feel like we have to do this big thing. We have to go abroad or like this huge thing. And sometimes it’s just loving the person in front of you, loving your roommate, loving your parents, [or] loving your friend,” Aquino said.

October 2, 2022