VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2002 ( The principal mission of Christians is to proclaim Christ as the only savior of mankind, John Paul II says.

"Humanity of the third millennium also needs to discover that Christ is its savior," the Pope said today before reciting the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"This is the proclamation that Christians must carry with renewed courage to the world of today," he emphasized.

On the solemnity of Christ the King, the Holy Father said that the laity has a "special responsibility" in this mission.

"In virtue of baptism and confirmation, they participate in the prophetic mission of Christ," he observed.

Quoting from his 2001 apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte," he added: "Therefore, they are called to seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God; they have their own role to play in the mission of the whole people of God in the Church and in the world [...] by their work for the evangelization and sanctification of people."

In presenting Jesus of Nazareth as King of the universe, the Pope said that Christians seek "to establish, so to speak, the divine power of Love in the heart of man, of history and of the cosmos."