AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo released a statement regarding the passing of Pope Benedict XVI.

Bishop Zurek issued the following statement:

“The secular press knew him as the Pope who retired.” I knew him in a different way.”

“Pope Benedict XVI and I had a very warm and personal conversation at the Vatican. We had so much in common. I was amazed. “Considering the place of origin of our families and their names, he even thought we could be related.”

“He suffered much in regard to Nazism.” Being moved by the evil of the Nazis, he desired to become a priest to help goodness, justice, love, and mercy be restored to the world.”

“My grandmother suffered in a similar way in my hometown. She was persecuted and called a Hitler sympathizer, only because she spoke German and received a letter from her family in Germany.” In our conversation, he acknowledged this.”

“I knew him as a brilliant theologian. My mom liked to read his works! Why? She said, ‘he wrote so that I can understand him!’

“I also knew him as a very warm, jovial, and kind man. He worked at the Vatican as Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. His apartment was a distance from his office. He had to walk across St. Peter’s Square to return to his home.”

“I meet him a few times at the oblesque. Sometimes we only acknowledged each other. Sometimes I saw him speaking with others (tourists). He would visit with them, pose for pictures with them and bless them and their children. He would also be humorous with them and answer any questions they might have. He was a true renaissance man. He also played the piano quite well.”

“Finally, he was a Holy Man that truly humanity, the Church, its teachings and insights.”

“I will always remember his beautiful smile, I will miss him dearly!”

“May he rest in peace!”