Bishop Zurek was ordained a priest in Rome on 29 June 1975 by Pope Paul VI along with 359 others for the Holy Year of 1975. He served 21 years as a priest of Austin, Texas and once led the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops National Conference of Vocation Directors before being named an auxiliary bishop of San Antonio on 5 January 1998 by Pope John Paul II. Bishop Zurek speaks four languages, including his ancestral Czech as well as Spanish.
On January 4, 2008, after his appointment, bishop Zurek said at the Pastoral Center Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas:
"I look forward to meeting the people of Amarillo and being their shepherd. I would thank Bishop Yanta for his dedication and years of service. I look forward to learning much from him and also from the priests, religious and people in Amarillo.
" As I told the Pope, 'I will love them. I will serve them with all my strength and heart. I will teach them all that the Catholi Church teaches. And I will try to preach so as to animate their souls and spirits to give even better witness to Christ Jesus in the Catholic Church.' "
He will succeed Most Rev. John W. Yanta, the seventh bishop of Amarillo, who currently acts as the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese.
Bishop Zurek will be installed as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Amarillo in St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church on Friday, February 22, 2008, at 1:00 p.m.
The Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ gratefully acknowledge the outstanding work that bishop Yanta carried out as the shepherd of this diocese, and look forward to working with bishop Zurek for the good of the people of God in the Texas Panhandle.