VATICAN CITY, NOV. 8, 2002 ( The great cultural proposal that Christians can make is that Christ is the key that explains the mystery of the human being, says John Paul II.

When meeting today with 90 administrators and benefactors of the John Paul II Cultural Center of Washington, D.C., the Pope explained that "mission of the center, so close to my heart, is inspired by the firm conviction that Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, is the center of human history and the key which unlocks the mystery of man and reveals his sublime calling."

"To build a world more worthy of humanity, it is urgent that Christ be proclaimed with joy and conviction as the way, and the truth and the light which can illumine the life of each individual and the destiny of the whole human family," the Holy Father added.

The center, inaugurated in March 2001, has a museum with interactive exhibitions, as well as conferences and courses on the magisterium.

"The Cultural Center is committed to showing how the Gospel responds to our deepest yearnings and highest aspirations as these find expression in the cultures which shape the future of our world," the Pope said. "It is my hope that in carrying out this essential mission, the center will make a distinctive contribution to the new evangelization."

The Holy Father concluded by thanking "the staff and benefactors of the center for your promotion of its initiatives."

The John Paul II Center Web site is at