June 15, 2022

Annual Memorial Day Mass Tradition Continues

Another day of tradition at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Archdiocese of Cincinnati continued this Memorial Day, May 30, 2022. Every year, so many individuals and families gather at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Cincinnati to remember the military, men and women, who died for our faith and freedom, and never returned home.

In past, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day, established on May 30, 1868, for the Civil War’s fallen soldiers. With the burial of the young soldiers and others who served America at war, Gate of Heaven started its own tradition for a Remembrance Mass on Decoration Day.

In 1968, 100 years after Decoration Day’s creation, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. Decades later, this Annual Memorial Day Field Mass at Gate of Heaven Cemetery has continued with hundreds, and hundreds of individuals and generations of families that attend to focus on the true meaning of the day.

This Memorial Day Monday, May 30th, presentation and mass, took place at our cemetery priest mound at 10:30AM with a veteran from the Marine Corp., Chris Romano, who shared his story, to remember, honor, teach, pray and never let history get lost. As Chris was speaking, the Cincinnati War Birds, who are veterans and were piloting 7 historic military planes that morning, were up in the sky flying over the cemetery. The sky was picture perfect blue that morning and all attending the service and mass had their eyes, phones, and cameras lined up to the sky with pride and awe.

We structure that day to focus on history, faith and prayer. The presentation is so important for the history, the true meaning of Memorial Day. The Mass is the highest form of prayer. We pray for souls. We pray that they are united with God as we thank them for their service. In addition to Archbishop Schnurr being our Celebrant for this special mass, we knew that the Holy Spirit was present with all of us together that day. We always pray for all that are interred here on these 160 acres of sacred ground.

“We get a lot of interest from the local veterans’ organizations and police forces. So, there’s a lot of patriotism out there and a lot of people who are willing to give their time and efforts to honor the veterans,” stated Director of Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Tom Jordan.

This year’s Mass started at 11:00AM, with wonderful, celebrant Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, after the 10:30AM presentation,  We were also blessed with a wonderful youth choir, directed by Ron Miller from St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Liberty Township. Refreshments followed with nice, cold, water bottles, lots of watermelon, snack mix, cheese, crackers and cookies to get a little something inside everyone before they moved on to their other Memorial Day obligations. “We want to stress that all are welcome here,” said Jordan.

We greatly appreciate all that participate in the preparation for this day here every year. Our gratitude is with all of those individuals, scouts and families that post and pull all of the 6000 plus veterans flags. We are also grateful for the volunteers, the Deacons, the Priests, the Knights of Columbus, the parking directors, our grounds team, staff and so many more.

This tradition at the cemetery is always a good way to start the holiday. Let’s continue to pay honor to the veterans, focus on faith and our freedom. Our hope is that many more individuals, families, generations of families, and neighbors will partake in this tradition every year, or start their new tradition here, and focus on the true meaning of the day. Monday, May 29, 2023, Memorial Day, will be here before we know it. Mark your calendars now and be a part of this wonderful, annual tradition at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in 2023!