At the end of the Holy Thursday liturgy at St. Peter Parish in Southeast Portland, I half expected the pastor, Father Raul Marquez, to collapse on the altar from mental exhaustion. Instead, he sat and prayed quietly in front of the Eucharist looking peaceful, composed and — though it was difficult to see his face in the low-lit church — joyful. He’d just completed a colossal task.

The priest celebrated the Mass in three languages — Spanish, English and sign language. Sometimes it was two at once. He’d verbally move from English to Spanish and back while keeping his hands and arms moving fluidly to communicate with signs.

It was stunning. And it was a gift to the parish’s Hispanic, Anglo and deaf communities.

Father Marquez is not alone. On Holy Week, more than any other part of the year, priests dig deep, lean on the Holy Spirit and give abundantly. They busily prepare homilies, lead Stations of the Cross, celebrate Easter Vigils and sometimes multiple Easter Sunday Masses. It’s no doubt exhausting.

The vast majority of these men went into the priesthood because they wanted to serve God and to serve you and me. They wanted to bring us the Eucharist and the radical, life-altering word of God — even when that means that they must juggle three languages almost simultaneously.

Thank you, priests. And happy Easter!