Path to Priesthood: Deacon Toby Offiah’s Sweet Memory Ahead of Ordination

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope

The promise of a sweet treat is what first drew Deacon Tobechukwu Offiah to God; his mom, Mary, knew exactly what she was doing. 

“As a kid, my mom makes you love going to church,” Deacon Offiah said. “She’s a gifted woman. When we go to Mass at the end of Mass, we [would] go get ice cream.” 

As a kid growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, Deacon Toby very quickly came to look forward to Sundays. 

“She did it in such a way that I just naturally desired to go to Mass because I know that I would get ice cream afterward,” Deacon Offiah said. “I see that as God’s way of really drawing me closer to himself.”

These days, faith stands alone. Deacon Offiah knows now that Christ’s love is much sweeter. Back then, ice cream was just a distraction that was leading him toward God. 

But after coming to the United States in 2017 with a degree in accounting, the American Dream was a new distraction, one he could taste. 

“Just being in America and working two jobs at the time. It’s very attractive because they are not just telling you about it, but you could also see them living the life,” Deacon Offiah said. 

However, it was only leading him away from his vocation. It was then he remembered his mother’s childhood strategy. 

“She did more than just ice cream,” Deacon Offiah said. “She did what a mother could do to see that her son gets to the right place, and which place can we all desire, if not the heavenly kingdom? And that is the gift that she gave to me.”

For Deacon Offiah, the priesthood and the American Dream are now one and the same. 

When his mom passed away in 2022, she died with the peace of knowing her son had chosen the right path. 

She sang a blessing he’ll never forget. 

“She recorded herself singing, you know, and in that song she told me that I should keep on moving in the discernment that I followed, that it will not be easy,” Deacon Offiah said. She said, what I should know is that she’s always behind me.” 

On ordination day, she’ll be behind him in spirit, her deep faith became his own. 

“My mom did a lot. Ice cream was one of them. But she did more than that,” Deacon Offiah said. “She helped me to come to know God through prayer, and today, I’m willing to give him all, you know, to the service of his people. And so the glory of his name.”