North Korea says its Catholic community has organized religious services in memory of Pope John Paul.

The official news agency, KCNA, on Tuesday quotes Samuel Jang Jae On, described as head of the country's Catholic association, as saying North Korean Catholics are deeply saddened by the pontiff's passing.

The agency says Mr. Jang sent the Vatican a message of condolence.

North Korea is widely described as one of the world's most repressive political regimes. It is not clear how many Catholics live in the Communist nation and to what extent they can practice their religion.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.