Saint Icons, Feeling Unwelcome at Church, and the War on Drugs

In today’s podcast, Fr. Josh answers questions about why it seems that the majority of saint icons are European in appearance, how to approach visiting Catholic churches, and the criminalization of marijuana in the “war on drugs.”

If you have a question, comment, or response for Fr. Josh, email us at You may hear your question or comment in an upcoming podcast episode!

Snippet from the Show

Mass is Mass. We go to Mass to worship God even if the music is terrible, the people next to us have body odor, or the readers cannot read well … It is not always going to be easy to worship. Sometimes it is going to be painful.


Glory Story (1:56)

Fr. Josh visited Martin Luther King Jr.’s  church in Montgomery, Alabama. He shares about his prayer experience there.

Listener Feedback (6:45)
Saint Icons (10:24)

I’m somewhat disturbed that the vast majority of portrayals of Christ, Mary, the Apostles etc. are European in appearance. I know that the Church allows for different ethnic depictions of Christ but it seems that most of what I ever see is of a white Jesus. Given the history of colonialism and racism I find this as problematic. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


Feeling Unwelcome at Church (22:30)

I am a Black Catholic woman and I love my faith. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in between two worlds. Though I attend a predominantly black parish, when I visit other churches I never quite know what I’m walking into. Will they be receptive of me? Will the homily talk about something in a way that will offend me as an African-American (which has happened before)? Any tips on being madly in love with Jesus while not abandoning my culture and my attentiveness to racial inequality? A deep question I know, but listening to your podcast has given me so much insight time and time again. God bless you!


The War on Drugs (30:03)

I am both a Catholic and a libertarian (politically), and I wanted to ask your thoughts on the criminalization of marijuana and the “”War on Drugs””. While I personally do not condone, and discourage others from using drugs that affect your state of mind, I have a difficult time accepting that people should be thrown in prison for essentially putting a plant into their body, and I also feel that the War on Drugs has only caused drug cartels to grow in power. Sorry for this being a bit lengthy, but how would you advise someone with these conflicting thoughts?

Love your podcast, and God bless.


Universal Points (36:31)

(Please note that these are a summary of the answers Fr. Josh provides in the podcast.)

  1. Saint Icons – What can it hurt to add a few more to churches in order to have more diversity
  2. Feeling Unwelcome at Church – Imitate the apostles and go out of your comfort zone.
  3. The War on Drugs – Get to know history


Broken and Blessed book by Fr. Josh Johnson

Want to browse the resources Fr. Josh recommends? Click here to select an episode and view the shownotes.

Meet Your Host:

While Fr. Josh was raised Catholic, he didn’t like the Church growing up. One day, in adoration, he fell in love with Jesus and received the call to become a priest. Now, Fr. Josh is the pastor for Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Louisiana, and he is a presenter in two of Ascension’s programs: Altaration, and YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body and author of Broken and Blessed.

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