Young Man Gets Lesson in Faith at Queens College

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Catholic, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, Queens, NY, Young Catholics

By Katie Vasquez

Noel Guzman attends mass at the Newman Center on Queens College’s campus four days a week. But that is only one stop for Noel; he says he attends mass seven days a week at various other churches.

“Whenever I can, I try to squeeze in two a day, just try to have my time, peace with God, and prayer with him as well,” said Guzman. 

The college student admits he was sometimes devout. Although he had received the sacraments of baptism and communion, his family didn’t regularly attend church. 

“Growing up, it was Catholic in name,” said Guzman. “Not with practice. Very rarely.”

A friend invited him to a Protestant bible study when he was a sophomore.

While Noel didn’t feel connected to that faith, the experience did send him on a spiritual journey, where he looked into Islam, Lutheran, and Greek Orthodox ideologies. 

“I remember adamantly researching the papacy. That was the biggest thing for me because that’s one of the biggest divides between, you know, the West and the East,” said Guzman. ‘ Shortly after that, I signed up for confirmation classes, and I was confirmed.’

The 23-year-old now helps the altar servers at St Mary’s Nativity-St Ann Parish in Flushing. 

Father Jose Diaz, the pastor, and Newman Center Chaplain says Noel is a role model for other young people. 

“I think it’s incredible that he’s a young man who’s really dedicated his time to seek Jesus. Yeah, we go to church, we do all these things. But when you kind of sit with it, you know, you make it a priority in your life to rediscover this thing which. This faith, which is something beautiful. I think that’s something that’s admirable for sure,” said Father Diaz. 

Bishop Robert Brennan also acknowledged his dedication. 

 “I’m inspired by him and by so many others, but I’m inspired when a young person maybe rediscovers or just discovers more deeply their Catholic faith and the joy that that the lord gives to us, and then living it out, living it out authentically,” said Bishop Brennan. 

And Noel hopes he can inspire other young Catholics who may have lost their way. 

“I think people, especially young people, are looking more into it now. They’re having a lot more of those questions because, despite their concerns, they get that comfort and that confirmation that is true faith. Yeah, it’s beautiful, actually,” said Guzman.