The Canon Law spells out the required qualifications for becoming a bishop.
In canon 378 §1. The person is to be outstanding in solid faith, good morals, piety, possess a zeal for souls, and other such qualities, including a good reputation.
He is to be at least 35 years old and must have been a priest for at least 5 years. He is to possess a doctorate, or a pontifical licentiate degree, in Sacred Scripture, Theology, or Canon Law. If not, he must be at least truly an expert in one of these fields.
Once a candidate possesses these qualifications and is given the nod by the Pope, the person is announced.
I am sure you have come across “Bishop-Designate” and “Bishop-Elect” and have been wondering at what point one becomes a Bishop-Designate or a Bishop-Elect.
In other words, What is the difference between a Bishop-Designate and a Bishop-Elect?
It’s quite simple. If the candidate is already a bishop like in the case of a transfer from one Diocese to another, once the man is appointed, he becomes the “Bishop-Designate” of the new diocese.
But If he is a priest like in the case of Rev. Monsignor Samuel Nkuah-Boateng, the new Bishop for the Wiawso Diocese in Ghana and not yet consecrated a bishop, he is referred to as the “Bishop-Elect.”
Also, note that before a bishop can exercise the rights and duties of his office he must be installed officially as the diocesan bishop of his diocese. The technical term for this is taking “canonical possession” of a diocese (cf. canon 382 §§1-4).
If the candidate is already a bishop, (Bishop-Designate) he must take canonical possession of the diocese within two months of the date of appointment. If he is a priest,(Bishop Elect) then he must receive episcopal consecration (i.e. be “made a bishop”) within three months and must take canonical possession of the diocese within four months of the date
The installation ceremony is a solemn liturgical ceremony usually done at the Cathedral church of the diocese. In the ceremony, the Papal Nuncio (or another delegate) shows the Pope’s Apostolic Letter of appointment to the College of Consultors in the presence of the Chancellor of the diocese.
The new bishop is then seated in the cathedra (the bishop’s chair), at which moment he formally takes possession of the diocese.