The Berlin Center was filled with over 14,000 Catholics who came together for the dio­cese’s third assembly. Courtesy | Amy Miller

Almost 14,000 Catholics met at the Breslin Center in Lansing on Sat­urday, lis­tening to Bishop Earl Boyea’s reminder that they are “Made for Hap­piness” as the assembly’s theme sug­gested. Those who gathered made up 22 percent of the Lansing Diocese’s church-going pop­u­lation, according to a news statement from the diocese. The assembly goers had the oppor­tunity for prayer, lis­tening to speakers, ended the day with a Mass.

St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Hillsdale sent over 200 parish­ioners and college stu­dents, who began the day with a 3.6 mile eucharistic pro­cession beginning at St. Mary’s Cathedral in downtown Lansing and then passing by the Michigan State Capitol before ending at the Breslin Student Activ­ities Center.

The assembly was the third to be hosted by diocese.

Boyea said, as he opened the day’s con­ference, that the first assembly was in 2014, when 800 were in atten­dance: priests, deacons, and employees of the diocese.

“This third assembly is really about, how we go out into the court of the gen­tiles, how do we go out into the culture in which we live,” he said.

Several speakers from around the country joined to share the message of the day, which revolved around evan­ge­lization and the Great Com­mission, as included in the gospels.

Father Mike Schmitz is a priest from the Diocese of Duluth, Min­nesota where he works in youth and young adult min­istry for the diocese and as a uni­versity chaplain.

Sophomore Bridget Breckler said his talk was one of the high­lights of her expe­rience.

“He was talking about trusting in God in the midst of suf­fering, pain, and uncer­tainty,” she said. “As each of us grow into adults, we go through that, on our own, but in Christ.”

She saw the day as an out­pouring of graces.

As Boyea sent those in atten­dance home, he declared a year of prayer for the Lansing Diocese.

Senior Jimmy McGrath said the day was full of “awe-inspiring” and “vis­ceral” moments, in par­ticular the eucharistic pro­cession.

“What I took away from it was unity,” he said.

“The past few months have been rough for the Church, but the day was full of tan­gible signs of hope for the future.”