Cardinal John Onaiyekan Tuesday told parishioners of the SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Nyanya, Abuja that it is a tradition for him to hold a special Mass for them every New Year because of his emotional attachment to them.
He said the tradition would have been broken this year due to an invitation by President Goodluck Jonathan but for God's intervention.
"My mind has always been to come here for New Year celebration and I don't want to change that. The President wanted to have a New Year Mass with me in another church but later it was called off. So, when I told the Rev Father that I would come here for the Mass, he was so happy," he added.
The cardinal preached peace to the large congregation of parishioners, amidst jubilations, praises and prayers.
He said New Year is an annual celebration that shows God's existence.
"God does things at appointed time and New Year reminds us about time, how time and our activities go round. We witness both rainy and dry seasons. This is a sign of God being faithful, dependable and reliable. He makes day and night to send a message of His presence," he said.
Cardinal Onaiyekan prayed for the country to overcome its present challenges and called on Christians to always give thanks to God. "May the Lord's protection, blessings and guidance abide in you all this New Year and forever. We should always give thanks to the Lord for He has done many good things for us," he stated.
Speaking earlier, Parish Priest of the church, Reverend Father Donatus Akpan, thanked the cardinal for keeping to his tradition in holding a special Mass every New Year in the church and prayed for a better 2013.
The special New Year Mass was attended by other priests as well as many prominent Catholics in Abuja.