VATICAN CITY — Christ is always at work in history, even in the worst of human events, Pope John Paul II said.

“The Holy Year we are celebrating underlines in a special way the fact that Christ is the center and meaning of all that happens, even when, humanly speaking, events seem to elude the rule of his providence,” he said.

The Pope made his remarks April 17 in an address to 5,000 students and professors — representing more than 60 nationalities — from 400 universities. The students were participating in an annual UNIV Congress in Rome sponsored by the personal prelature of Opus Dei.

Noting that their gathering focused on “The Image of Man 2000 Years Later: Faith, History, Science, Culture, Conquests,” the Pope told the students that “the centrality of Jesus is not just a question of measuring the passage of time.”

“The Word made flesh is the true protagonist of history,” he said.

“And the redemption, always at work in the often intricate flux of human events,” is the key to interpreting history, he added.

“Every moment of time belongs completely to” Christ, the Holy Father said, because by his death he “conquered evil once and for all.”

The efforts of Christians are “never in vain,” he said, because Christ works in them to complete his plan of salvation.

“Never forget this! Each believer is an instrument of God,” he said.

The Pope urged the students to let themselves be “conquered” by Christ, and to pass Christ on to other young people.

“May you be profoundly convinced that society needs to find in your coherent witness as young Christians an important stimulus for a strong spiritual and social renewal.”

(From combined wire services)