David Walkowiak is the new bishop of Grand Rapids.
Mary Haarman, director of Aquinas College
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The Diocese of Grand Rapids has a new Bishop, David Walkowiak, but if you are not Catholic you may not know what that means.
For help we talked to Mary Haarman, the communication director of Aquinas College, who suggests it might be helpful to think of the Catholic church like a company.
"The pope would be the CEO of the umbrella firm and there would be different divisions, and a bishop would have oversight of a certain division," says Haarman.
Bishops are in charge of a diocese which is an area made up of local parishes. The Roman Catholic Diocese Grand Rapids is made up of 84 parishes and 32 schools in the West Michigan area.
"I had the luxury of serving underneath the last four bishops and each day, as with any CEO, he may meet with priests, he may meet with lay people, he may look at requests coming from different parishes," says Haarman.
Bishops are appointed by the pope, and in the Catholic hierarchy it goes pope - bishops - priests.
"He has been appointed by our Holy Father, Pope Francis and he is our pastoral leader following in the footsteps of the early apostles," says Haarman.
A bishop oversees the teaching of the Gospel and Catholic education in all its forms, as well as administers and acts as a judge in canon law matters. He is the chief shepherd or spiritual leader of the diocese.
A bishop must be 35 years old, have outstanding solid faith, good morals, a good reputation, and possession of a doctorate in sacred scripture, theology, or canon law.
As Bishop Walkowiak takes office he joins approximately 5,100 bishops across the world.