Odyssey disbands; new group forms

By Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier    |    12.20.2009
Category: Young Adult


Odyssey, a group for Catholics in their 20s and 30s, dissolved in April, but recently a new group began to pick up where Odyssey left off. In May Cory Phillips founded Catholic Coffeehouse, a new group for Catholic young adults in the Rochester area.

Odyssey began in 1996 as a diocesan-sponsored young-adult network and since then has held a number of social, spiritual and volunteer activities, said Laura Lehner. Lehner was one of the four planning-committee members who made the decision to end Odyssey in April.

The group's goal was to bring together young adults in their 20s and 30s to share their faith. In its heyday, Odyssey events usually drew between 30 and 60 people, Lehner said.

Odyssey became an independent group separate from the Diocese of Rochester in 2002, and it became difficult for planning-committee members to run the group because they all had full-time jobs and other responsibilities, she said.

As time went on, participation in Odyssey events dwindled and existing members outgrew the group. A combination of these factors led to the planning group's decision to dissolve Odyssey, Lehner said.

Lehner and the other members of Odyssey's planning committee sent an e-mail to members announcing the group's last two events and its imminent disbandment.

"Odyssey has had a very enjoyable 8-year run in which many friendships and marriages have been created. ... May God bless everyone that has come across our path and experienced our spiritual Odyssey," the e-mail stated.

After receiving the e-mail, Phillips decided to take action. A 25-year-old technical writer from St. John the Evangelist Parish in Greece, Phillips formed Catholic Coffeehouse after others told her they'd still support a Catholic young-adult group.

"It is an Odyssey replacement in that it is a group for younger Catholic adults, but I also rebranded it to draw new Catholics in their 20s and 30s to the group by naming it Catholic Coffeehouse," Phillips said.

Phillips hopes Catholic Coffeehouse will provide a way for Catholic young adults to meet and have fun, she said. As the name suggests, monthly meetings at local coffeehouses are a staple of the group's activities, and the group will also plan one other activity each month, Phillips said.

Catholic Coffeehouse events scheduled for the next few weeks include an Aug. 11 get-together at Java Junction in Brockport and an Aug. 17 dinner at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Rochester. Phillips regularly posts information about upcoming events at a Catholic Coffeehouse Web site she started through Yahoo! Groups.

For more information about Catholic Coffeehouse, contact Phillips at catholic_coffeehouse@yahoo.com or visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/catholic_coffeehouse/join.

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