Be My Guest: Andy Lesnefsky on Catholic Community, Tattoos, Fitting in, and Avoiding Burnout

Andy Lesnefsky from Vagabond Ministries joins Father Josh to talk about how to find Catholic community, why you shouldn’t worry about fitting a perfect Catholic mold, and how to avoid burnout when you’re always serving others. 

Today’s podcast was recorded live last week in Phoenix Arizona at the FOCUS Student Leadership SLS conference…thank you for all your prayers for this incredible conference and all the young Catholics who attended!

Glory Story (0:45)

Fitting in (12:07)

Hello Father Josh,

I want to thank you for your podcast. I appreciate how you bring your full personality to each recording. It has been especially helpful to me because I often get this sense that I need to change and fit some mold in order to be acceptable or rather leave behind my culture and my personality and become a woman who is meak, quiet, and soft. This is an ongoing struggle for me though to understand how to sanctify our culture and personality traits rather than just trying to become someone I’m not. What are your thoughts on this? I often see examples of women promoting strong Catholics who dress and talk alike. I wanna find myself in Christ, but that does not mean just conforming right? I’m hoping you can catch what I’m trying to ask. Thank you so much for this podcast and even reading this email I appreciate the ministry.

– Nkeka 

Tattoos (17:13)

I’m a 27-year-old guy with 3/4ths sleeve of tattoos. It shows how God has helped me through my childhood struggles and how he made me stronger because of it. Through my tattoo I’ve been able to bring a few people back to God and knowing his love for us. I feel that it’s my way of evangelizing. Some people in leadership at my parish, they know my story and they’re excited about my tattoo, and they’re excited that it’s my way of evangelizing. These same adults encourage me and other young adults to go out and evangelize others. Yet and still, I’ve also been told by them that I have to wear long-sleeve shirts to cover up my tattoo whenever I’m on the parish grounds. How do I approach this?

– Anonymous 

Avoid Burnout While Serving Others (22:52)

How can one lead a community while still being a part of the community? Myself and a few of my good friends are the leadership team at my university’s Catholic center. We do not have a campus minister or any missionaries, so a majority of the ministry falls upon the shoulders of myself and the rest of the officer team It’s been incredibly difficult to live in the community while also leading it. We became exhausted over the past semester, constantly pouring into the community, and the community not pouring back into us, and all of our relationships with Christ have suffered. Over the break the Lord restored us greatly but how do we keep a repeat of last semester from happening again? 

– Michaela 

Lack of Young Adult Catholic Community (30:55) 

Thank you very much Father. I am here (SLS 2020) with the Archdiocese of Military Services and I’m in the Coastguard stationed in Valdez, Alaska, and there’s a small parish there but generally I feel pretty darn isolated in terms of young adult Catholics, on fire with the faith. I haven’t been super stellar at keeping the march going if you know what I mean. What advice do you have for Catholics, military or otherwise, who are generally isolated? I know the calling is to be that leader, start that young adult community, I know that answer, but the truth is it’s just really difficult to connect with people who, even at the parish, don’t get it, if you know what I mean – you just don’t have that connection with them. I feel like I’m really falling short.

– Hanna (Live from SLS 2020)


  • Help support Dave and Amber VanVickle through their GoFundMe
  • Check out Andy Lesnefsky’s organization, Vagabond Missions
  • Subscribe to the show by texting “askfrjosh” to 33-777

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