The Indianapolis diocese is struggling to recruit enough priests to man its 151 parishes, spread across most of the southern half of Indiana. The number of diocesan priests fell 5 percent from 156 in 2001 to 148 last year.
Deacons can't say Mass or hear confessions, but they can perform baptisms, wedding and funerals.
Like priests, Catholic deacons must be men.
Unlike priests, deacons can be married -- but only if they're married at the time they're ordained.