The prelate of Opus Dei and the prelature itself depend—as do all ecclesiastical circumscriptions—on the Holy See, that is, on the Roman Pontiff and the organ that assists him in what refers to dioceses and prelatures, the Congregation for Bishops.
The prelate of Opus Dei is appointed by the Pope, following the procedure for choosing the prelate provided for in the prelature’s statutes. These foresee the intervention of faithful of the prelature to determine the most qualified priest. The Roman Pontiff may then call the prelate to be ordained as a bishop. Although this step is not essential, it is very appropriate given the prelate’s hierarchical pastoral mission. This has happened with the first two prelates, Bishop Álvaro del Portillo and Bishop Javier Echevarría.