June 7, 2023

Memorial Day 2023 Presentation, Mass and Patriotic Rosary at Gate of Heaven

Fr. Jason Williams shares a very kind message regarding the 2023 Annual Memorial Day Field Mass at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Archdiocese of Cincinnati


“God provided yet another beautiful day for the annual Memorial Day Mass. The pristine grounds offer a fitting setting for this gathering of nearly a thousand people to worship God and pray for the deceased. Such a celebration would not be possible without the leadership and organization of the Gate of Heaven staff members, as well as the countless hours put in by many volunteers. Thanks to all who made this day a success; many people, I’m sure, are looking forward to next year’s celebration.”

– Reverend Jason A. Williams, J.C.L., Chancellor and Master of Ceremonies to the Archbishop

For where two or three are gathered together in my name,

there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20


Gate of Heaven Cemetery and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati family continue the tradition of gathering on Memorial Day, on sacred ground to remember, honor and pray for those who have given their lives for freedom. From sea to shining sea, Americans should never underestimate the high price of freedom nor forget the heroes who bravely defended it. We gather to say their names, share their stories and support those they left behind.

The Gate of Heaven staff could not have prepared for Memorial Day 2023 alone. We extend a heartfelt thanks to the Valor Group, a connected group of veterans, family members of veterans and supporters, all employed by AltraFiber, who spent two days at Gate of Heaven preparing for Memorial Day. They, along with their family and friends, posted 7000 flags on the graves of interred veterans at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. The flags were donated by the Valor group.

Upon entering through the main gates at Gate of Heaven, the obelisk centered on the Priest Circle is the focal point of the gathering. The Memorial Day Remembrance Presentation began at 10:30 a.m. with the Memorial Day Mass following at 11:00 a.m. St. Maximilian Kolbe’s Youth Choir began our event by singing the Star Spangled Banner followed by our key speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Quantz, U.S. Army 1998 – 2019. Quantz is a native of Lebanon, Ohio and a proud graduate of the University of Cincinnati and the Ohio State University. With over 20 years of service, he commanded soldiers at the company and battalion level. He served as the Director of Army Operations and Director of Strategy and Plans. As a combat veteran of operation Iraqi Freedom, he was deployed in support of the Kosovo campaign. Lieutenant Colonel Quantz is a recipient of a bronze star medal, four meritorious service medals, five army commendation medals, and was inducted into the Order of Saint George and the Order of Saint Barbara military honor societies.

In his address Lieutenant Colonel Quantz stated that the true meaning and purpose of Memorial Day is the sharing of the names of comrades who died for freedom’s sake. He was especially moved when naming several brave heroes who never returned home from Iraq. Those gathered were moved while listening to his remembrance presentation and watching the Cincinnati War Birds military aircrafts making an honorable flight over the crowd. The Marine Corps League Chosin Reservoir Detachment 968 were in position with seven Marines standing at attention on the Priest Circle for the three-volley salute, while another Marine made his way to the roped off gravesite of a World War 1 Veteran. There, a wreath was laid to honor all military heroes who bravely defended our country and our freedom. During this solemn moment, the sound of a bugle playing taps filled the air.

Within minutes after the “Taps,” the Sacred Liturgy began with the opening hymn, “Christ, Our Light.” The liturgical procession was led by the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, the cross of Christ was held by a server, followed by deacons, concelebrants, Fr. Jason Williams, the archbishop’s M.C., and the principle celebrant Archbishop Dennis Schnurr. The mass was said for those fallen in battle, those who served in the US armed forces, and for all interred friends and family members at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Gate of Heaven staff members shared refreshments with those who attended the mass. Following mass, two volunteer buglers sounded “Taps” at veteran’s gravesites where family members gathered to remember their loved ones.

This year began a new tradition. The Knights of Columbus led a Patriot Rosary in the Veterans Garden, Section 28, at 2:00p.m. Over sixty participants joined the Knights in praying the Patriot Rosary. During the recitation of the Rosary, it was emotionally stirring to see the military flags gracefully waving in the wind in perfect rhythm with the Rosary. With this year being the first year of the Patriot Rosary, all were very pleased with the turnout. Their goal is to continue the Patriot Rosary every year on Memorial Day at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Hopefully, many more will participate in the coming years.

Next year’s Memorial Day Celebration is May 27, 2024. Plan on arriving early with folding chair in hand. The Memorial Day Presentation will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by the Memorial Day Mass at 11:00 p.m. The Patriotic Rosary will also take place again in Section 28. Please share this special day with family, friends, neighbors, and parishioners. All are welcome!

Come, let us go up to the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths. He shall judge between the nations, and set terms for many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. – Isaiah 2:3-4