The Wayne County prosecutor said the Rev. Timothy Kane and an accomplice approved false applications to the Angel Fund and pocketed thousands of dollars over a four-year period.
The Angel Fund is run by the Archdiocese of Detroit and funded by a single donor. It has granted more than $17 million to needy people since 2005.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced many charges against Kane on Tuesday. She didn't say how much money Kane may have received. The embezzlement charge covers theft of less than $20,000.
Kane, a priest since 1982, couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Archdiocese spokesman Ned McGrath said the allegations are disappointing.