Fare thee well, Father Hilton

The congregation of St. Mary Catholic Church and other Aspen community members said goodbye to Father John Hilton over the weekend. Hilton, who joined St. Mary in June 2011 after serving as pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Westminster for 11 years, has told his congregation he plans to receive treatment for a medical condition soon. Following a recovery period, he is expected to serve a church parish in Denver. In the photograph at left, Hilton, center, reads the church announcements at the end of 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday as Deacon Phil Harrington, left, faces churchgoers and Father Darrick Leier, who will be St. Mary’s new pastor, stands to the right. In the second photo, Hilton speaks with Allison Czechowicz, her son Joseph and other well-wishers after holding his last Sunday Mass in Aspen. Sunday morning’s two Masses were followed by farewell brunches in Hilton’s honor. In addition to other accomplishments, Hilton — known by some as the “pedaling priest” because of his love for bicycling — planned and presided over an extensive church renovation that was completed last year.