His Excellency The Most Reverend Patrick James Zurek
(17 August 1948- ) appointed as the eighth Bishop of Amarillo by Pope Benedict XVI on 3 January 2008 was installed on February 22, feast of the chair of Peter.
Zurek, trained in Rome as a moral theologian, was a chaplain at the Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital during his seminary days. He 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.
The Liturgy that marked this event was noteworthy for its beauty. It begun the night before with Evening Prayer at St. Lawrence Cathedral, and concluded on Friday with the Eucharistic celebration at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church
. Adding to the beauty of the Liturgy at the Mass was the Diocesan Choir directed by Vanessa Rauscher with Jim Gardner as the Organist.
Two cardinals, His Emminence Oscar Cardinal Rodriguez and His Emminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, along with at least seventeen archbishops and bishops, and a number of local and visiting priests, concelebrated at the Mass. The two bishops Emeritus of the Amarillo diocese:Most Rev. John W. Yanta, the seventh bishop of Amarillo, and Most Rev. Leroy T. Matthesen, the sixth bishop of Amarillo, were also present.
Most Rev. Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, was unable to attend because of the cancellation of his flight due to bad weather conditions. In his place, the Most Rev. Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of San Antonio, read the official letter of installation.
Following the Mass there was a reception at the Church's gym, where attendees enjoyed refreshments and a time to share and greet the new bishop in a less formal way.
The Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ look forward to working with bishop Zurek for the good of the people of God in the Texas Panhandle.