Hello dear parishioners and staff. I have been asked to do a little write up as I return to St. Francis of Assisi to help introduce myself to you.
Some of you may know that I was born in Long Beach at St. Mary’s Hospital but quickly moved to Castle Rock back in the 70’s when Castle Rock was still a smallish town (maybe five thousand people — can you believe it?). My father, Robert, always wanted to live in the Rockies. He loved the outdoors, hiking and motorcycling on Rampart Range Road. His love for the outdoors meant that we as kids went on many camping, hiking, jeeping and motor cycling trips throughout the mountains during the summer and many skiing trips in the winter. The images, tastes and smells of waterfalls, meadows filled with wildflowers, chipmunks, watermelon and barbeques, and frigid rides on chair lifts still fill my memories of the many great family trips we took my younger years up until high school (Castle Rock High School).
I love music, plays, reading and art and so throughout my education I worked on watercolors of old Colorado Western towns, sculpting lions and bears and other interesting animals (won 1st place at the Douglas County fair), silk screen printing and designing of all the plays posters at our high school and performing as supporting cast and as leads in plays throughout my three years until graduation, and read a lot of Science Fiction (Asimov, Heinlen, Herbert, Foster and Tolkein being my favorites). During that time I also attended St. Francis of Assisi church and received my first communion. I loved the old church (now the hall) as I remember the old clunky glass hanging light fixtures, the hand sculpted stations of the cross, and the beautiful view of Pikes Peak through the back windows.
After high school, our family moved to the beautiful sunny beach city of San Diego where I went to SDSU and obtained my degree in Art and Communication. I continued my love for art and communication by painting landscapes and portraits with oil (many of which are hanging in homes), doing graphic design (now for 35 years), web design (for AOL, Microsoft and Time Warner), and worked in television and radio production (one commercial which won an Emmy). In San Diego I worked for Father Joe’s Villages (a large 25
million dollar non profit for homeless) for which I was the Marketing and Communications director. This is where my love for health and human services began and has continued. Fr Joe (an Irish Catholic priest from the Bronx) was and still is one of my greatest friends and mentors. He showed me the true meaning of God’s purpose, how to place the emphasis on our relationships with people above all things, and how to create dynamic inspiring Christian communities.
After Father Joe's villages I left to open my own health center where I worked with over six thousand clients and patients to overcome personal challenges and achieve greater strength and personal empowerment. All of this past experience, along with my love of Christ and our Mother Mary led me back to Colorado (where my younger brother Eric and his family, my Mom and Dad and Stepmother all live) as a seminarian and eventually priest. You will have to invite me to dinner or out to coffee to hear about my vocation story and so I can hear about your own spiritual journey. I look forward to getting to know you, your struggles and your achievements, especially your relationship with Christ, during my time here. I am here to journey with you, to cry when there is loss, to laugh when we experience joy, and to find Christ in all of this.
Rev. Chance Billmeyer