Washington, D.C. -- Private foundations that historically provide a lion share of grants to the Catholic church worldwide each year, will gather in Washington, D.C. on June 5th, to talk about newly announced priorities for the Catholic Church in the United States.

The exchange between the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ task force that has articulated the church’s priorities, and Catholic philanthropic leaders, is sponsored by Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA).

Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson Arizona, who has led the three-year USCCB planning effort, and who now also serves as USCCB Vice President, will share with foundations how the priorities were determined and what they will mean for USCCB programs from now until 2012.

The priority setting plan entitled: Deepen Faith, Nurture Hope, and Celebrate Life, will seek to deepen religious faith, strengthen marriage and family life and sacramental practice, celebrate best cultural diversity, enhance respect for human life, and promote more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

The plan goes beyond broad objectives and will be focused in specific new initiatives that will be approved by the nation’s bishops this November.

What is unclear at this point is how the plan’s activities are to be funded in a time when recessionary pressures are constraining the economic resources of the church at all levels.

Moreover, it is also uncertain how the new priorities will address other urgent diocesan needs like saving urban parochial schools, for example, or improving Sunday church attendance.

Whether the new priorities will impact the dozen or so national parish appeals that are taken up annually under the auspices of the USCCB is also unstipulated.

"We applaud the USCCB’s outreach and invitation to be part of this new effort to concentrate church focus on specific goals and hope that input from the Catholic foundation world will strengthen the process," said Dr. Francis J. Butler, FADICA’s President.