In the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the section entitled Christian Prayer, 2582 states: “Elijah is the ‘father’ of the prophets, ‘the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.’” How is Elijah the “father” of the prophets?
I think the phrase “father of the prophets” simply means “the first major prophet.” Subsequent prophets are considered his spiritual descendants. Elisha asked of Elijah that he “inherit a double share of your spirit” (2 Kings 2:9) and John the Baptist came “in the spirit and power of Elijah.” (Luke 1:17)
Paragraph 719 of the Catechism says in part:
719 John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.” In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah.