A bishop is a priest who receives “the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders” (CCC, 1557) and is the visible head of a particular local church. Their first task is to be a teacher of the faith, “preaching the gospel to all” (CCC, 888). Bishops are also “sanctifiers,” meaning they are the ones who ordain other men to the priesthood.
Bishops stem from the first Apostles. Christ chose the Apostles to be the people who would spread the gospel to all nations. They acted together as a body or a “college,” but they also spread out to preach the good news to local areas. Bishops have succeeded these original disciples and have a presence as the rulers of the Church in local areas, known as dioceses, where a ranking archbishop acts as chief administrator alongside auxiliary bishops who teach, help with administration, ordain priests and perform regular priestly duties as well.
All bishops are led by the pope, the bishop of Rome, who succeeds St. Peter, the Apostle chosen by Jesus to lead that first apostolic college.