Catholics have prayed for peaceful coexistence in Nigeria and the world.
At the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Calabar, the Cross River State capital city, south-south Nigeria, faithful attending the New Year service also prayed for good leadership in Nigeria.
The prayer, which was characterized by the lighting of five peace candles on a silver candelabrum featured prayers for the family, socio-economic, educational and political as well as spiritual uplifting of the nation.
Reverend Father Joseph Agbor, who is the administrator of Sacred Heart Cathedral, said that the New Year mass was to thank God for life, celebrate the solemnity of the Virgin Mary as well as pray for peace.
“Today, the Pope ordered that we should also light the peace candles. So, we must have peace in ourselves and that peace will radiate into the whole world. Jesus after the resurrection gave peace to everybody. Till today, we are yet to give peace to one another,” Agbor stated.
According to Agbor, “the church celebrates the solemnity of Mary the mother of God to begin the year. We are so happy that God kept us alive; He is so faithful that we have seen today. We celebrate this ceremony and then we pray for peace all over the world” .
“So, the significance of today is celebrating Mary the mother of peace means we are to give peace to one another and we also live in peace”, urged the priest.
Highlight of the mass was a special rendition of Christmas carol by Archbishop Joseph Ekuwem and priests within the cathedral, which is the headquarters of the Ecclesiastical Province and Catholic Archdiocese of Calabar.
Meanwhile, Some Nigerians have urged the Nigerian and Cross River Governments to implement policies and programmes that would transform the lives of citizens positively.
Professor Roybito Ekanem of the Guidance and Counselling Department in the Cross River University of Technology, as well as a veteran journalist, Frank Inyang made the call while responding to questions on their expectations for the New Year.
Professor Ekanem said “I am asking first that God should give us unity of purpose and that as we celebrate love, we should show this love by doing what is good and touching the lives of each other. People should not take the collective wealth of all and convert it to their personal use. That is not love”.
Frank Inyang stated, “every person expects 2020 to be better than 2019. With these expectation too, we are expecting government at all levels to perform better this year than their previous performance and it would be an interpretation of something good, so Nigeria will be a better place for all of us”.
The respondent also expects that the challenges of insecurity, poor power supply and unemployment would be better tackled this year.