Balthazar vs. Cecilia

In the final battle of a week filled with saintly thrills and spills, Balthazar squares off against Cecilia. And you, yes YOU, get to decide whether to vote against Christmas pageants or against church choirs. So good luck with that. Actually, both saints have inspired many people over the generations — from those who love frankincense, to those who are allergic to it; from those with melodic voices to the tone deaf.

Yesterday’s hotly contested battle between Egeria and Hildegard of Bingen ended with the bracket-busting Egeria edging out Hildegard by the slimmest of margins, 51% to 49%. With almost 6,800 votes cast, Egeria prevailed by less than 140. See, your (single) vote counts!

While we’ve had our share of nail biters over the years, this ranks up there and was the first truly close battle of Lent Madness 2015. And the comments. The comments! We set a record for most comments ever with nearly 370. Kudos to the commenters!

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The story of the Three Wise Men is a beloved part of Christmas crèches and pageants, albeit exercising a bit of editorial license. In Matthew’s Gospel, the text only says that sages and magi traveled from the East to find the infant King — not how many there were or what their names were.

Nonetheless, over time, tradition has narrowed the number of the Eastern travelers down to three and assigned them names — one of which is Balthazar. (In many medieval depictions of the Wise Men, Balthazar is depicted as a young African man). Aside from his presence in Matthew’s story, we don’t know much about Balthazar. He’s a mysterious figure, along with Melchior and Caspar, the other two kings named by tradition. The story goes that they brought frankincense, myrrh, and gold to the baby, carried all the way from the distant lands of Africa, Asia, and Europe.The kings were warned in a dream not to return to the genocidal King Herod, so they headed for home by a different path.

At some point, Balthazar and the other kings were martyred and buried, but we aren’t quite sure where. The explorer Marco Polo thought they were near Tehran, while Saint Helena thought she had found them in Palestine, along with the true cross, and brought everything with her to be enshrined at the Hagia Sophia. When Constantinople fell, the kings were moved to Milan, then Germany. You can now see what are believed to be Balthazar’s bones at a cathedral in Cologne, Germany.

But here is where the story gets really good.

It’s easy to dismiss Balthazar’s story as medieval hagiographic fan fiction. Yet alongside these Western Christian stories ran traditions from within Ethiopia and within Central and Southeast Asia, which traced their Christianity back to the return from Bethlehem of theWise Men. In 1243, Sempad, the elder brother of the Armenian king wrote a letter to his sister, Queen Stephanie of Cyprus, saying “Tanchat [Tangut, or Western Xia], which is the land from whence came the Three Kings to Bethlem [sic] to worship the Lord Jesus which was born. And know that the power of Christ has been, and is, so great, that the people of that land are Christians; and the whole land of Chata [Khitai, or Kara-Khitai] believes those Three Kings. I have myself been in their churches and have seen pictures of Jesus Christ and the Three Kings, one offering gold, the second frankincense, and the third myrrh. And it is through those Three Kings that they believe in Christ, and that the Chan and his people have now become Christians.”

At the time of Christ, the trade routes of present-day India, China, Egypt, and Ethiopia, all flowed through Jerusalem, so it’s not unreasonable to imagine that a curious young trader heard of an unusual baby, grabbed some friends, and decided to go investigate.

What is clear, however, is that his investigations, and the fruit of his travels, changed the world.

Collect for Balthazaar
Lord God, you set the stars in motion and give us wisdom. Bless us this day with the curiosity of Balthazar, that we would seek your will and know your ways, even as those signs pointing toward them would lead us over and beyond the horizons of familiarity. Make us restless to seek your face and your kingdom, knowing that resting in your knowledge and love is to truly come home. Bless all those who travel, and all those who seek the truth as part of their journey. Amen.

Megan Castellan


Cecilia is the patron saint of singers, musicians, and poets. She was martyred in Rome in the third century. Finding historically factual information regarding her life is a real heartbreaker and can shake the confidence of even the most devoted researcher.

Nevertheless, it is believed that Cecilia was born into nobility and privilege. She was a woman of strong faith and was credited with converting four hundred people. She was married to a pagan named Valerian. With Cecilia’s faith as a living example, Valerian and his brother Tiburtius, along with Maximus, a Roman soldier, were converted. After their baptism, the two brothers devoted themselves to burying the martyrs who were being slain daily. In about 230 CE, the brothers were arrested for practicing their faith. They were executed—and while she was burying her husband and brother-in-law, Cecilia was arrested.

There were several unsuccessful efforts to slay Cecilia, including stabbing, suffocation, and attempts at beheading, but she clung to life. After three days, she died as a result of the injuries.

Many reports tell of Cecilia’s courage and unfailing faith, revealing that she sang praises to God throughout her torment and slow death, hence her musical connection.

Cecilia is among the most famous and honored of the Roman martyrs. Since at least the fifth century, a church named in her honor has been located on the site of ruins believed to have been her home.

Cecilia is widely depicted in art, from paintings and sculptures to stained glass and mosaics and of course, music. Musical works by the greats — Handel, Purcell, Gounod, and Britten, and even contemporary artists such as Paul Simon, The Andrews Sisters, and Blue Oyster Cult, draw on Cecilia’s life and legacy as part of their own expressions. John Dryden, Alexander Pope, and W. H. Auden are among the great poets whose works honor Cecilia. Musical societies and choirs are also frequently named in her honor, including the National Academy of Saint Cecilia. In some places, concerts are presented on her feast day, which is November 22.

Collect for Cecilia
Most gracious God, whose blessed martyr Cecilia sang in her heart to strengthen her witness to you: We give you thanks for the makers of music whom you have gifted with Pentecostal fire; and we pray that we may join with them in creation’s song of praise until at the last, with Cecilia and all your saints, we come to share in the song of those redeemed by our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Neva Rae Fox


Balthazaar vs. Cecilia

  • Cecilia (74%, 3,871 Votes)
  • Balthazaar (26%, 1,390 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,261

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225 Comments to "Balthazar vs. Cecilia"

  1. Barbara from St. Barnabas's Gravatar Barbara from St. Barnabas
    March 6, 2015 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Balthazaar! His travels changed the world!

    • Molly's Gravatar Molly
      March 6, 2015 - 3:53 pm | Permalink

      And God sang to Balthazar after worshiping his son “Take The Long Way Home”…

      So, even though Cecilia is breaking hearts, I am voting for Balthazar

    • Frank Jacob's Gravatar Frank Jacob
      March 6, 2015 - 6:05 pm | Permalink

      The grandmother who died right after my birth was Cecelia, and I have in choirs nearly all my life. But Balthazar was a courageous young man who set on a journey “where no person has gone before.” He had the brass to seek the truth to what had been forecast.

    • Gail Adams's Gravatar Gail Adams
      March 7, 2015 - 9:52 am | Permalink

      My vote is for Cecilia, even though I loved James Earl Jones’s portrayal of Balthzar in Franco Zefferelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth.” I want my vote to go to more than a lovely wisp of imagination.

  2. Martha's Gravatar Martha
    March 6, 2015 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    With Simon and Garfunkel whispering in my ear, I cast my vote for Cecilia!!

    • Jennifer's Gravatar Jennifer
      March 6, 2015 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

      I, too, was singing it out loud in my cubicle as I voted for her! As a former (and terrible, hence the former) musician, I knew which of these two called to my heart – Cecilia!

    • Ralegh's Gravatar Ralegh
      March 6, 2015 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

      With Blue Oyster Cult shouting in my ear, I vote for Cecelia as well!

    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      March 6, 2015 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Ok, that was funny. 😀

      Still, I went with Balthazar. Rumor (yet another) indicates that he came from Sumeria where wise men and astrologers knew of the birth of a king long before it happened. Even though there is not much in the way of a history for the three wise guys, I do believe at least one of them came from this area and that his cohorts were also wise men and astrologers who likewise had forecast the birth of this baby. I honor Cecilia but Balthazar and his buds are my pick.

      • Barbara Hanson's Gravatar Barbara Hanson
        March 6, 2015 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for sharing a few more fascinating facts about Balthazar.
        This was close, but music has swayed me to Cecilia.

      • Harry Moncelle's Gravatar Harry Moncelle
        March 6, 2015 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

        I’m with Lea,
        Balthazar’s life and travels are mysterious and remind me that I too am on a journey (Lent) and it is mysterious how God can act in our lives, thus I vote for him.

      • Gail Renborg's Gravatar Gail Renborg
        March 6, 2015 - 3:53 pm | Permalink

        I had to go with Balthazar, too. If only because I knew Cecelia would garner the lions share of the votes, and I want Balthazar to have a respectable following. Also, anyone who follows yonder star to honor a baby in a manger, is OK by me.

        • Carol Friendly's Gravatar Carol Friendly
          March 6, 2015 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

          i also voted for Balthazar and his fellow travelers. Even though tradition puts them in the manger after the birth of Christ Jesus, it is more likely that they found him in a home one or two years later, after His birth. That is why Herod ordered all male children 2 and under to be slain. Also, i saw the program on EWTN, the catholic television station, about the Star of Bethlehem. It is believed now that at the time of Christ Jess’ birth, Jupiter was in retrograde with Venus behind it. That is why it was so bright in the night-time sky and that it appeared to stop. This is the miracle: that when the Lord God put the universe in motion, he set the planets and stars in order so that at this moment in time, Christ’s birth would be announced to the astrologers and Maji, through the positions of the stars and planets!! Praise be to Lord God, King of the Universe, and to His Son, Christ Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit!!

          • Carol Virginia's Gravatar Carol Virginia
            March 6, 2015 - 6:02 pm | Permalink

            Here! Here! Carol Friendly, with violins and trumpets! Would you believe we (The Shoreline Chorale on its first and only trip to Europe) sang in the Koln Cathedral a rousing rendition of the Negro Spiritual — “I Want to Meet My Maker” in harmony and overlapping rounds. It made some people cry. Honor bright. … No wise cracking!

    • Warner Seargeant's Gravatar Warner Seargeant
      March 6, 2015 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I want to know more about that Andrews Sisters connection. Did Cecelia have an apple tree experience? My late mother-in-law was named Cecelia and was born on Nov. 22nd. She was indeed a saint. Thus, I vote for her!

    • Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
      March 6, 2015 - 3:19 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you on that!! I have been singing “Cecelia” way too loud for the Christian Ed office walls to contain the “joyful noise!”

    • David Crosson's Gravatar David Crosson
      March 6, 2015 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

      You’re breaking my heart and shaking my confidence.

    • Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts's Gravatar Vonelle Kostelny-Vogts
      March 6, 2015 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Whispering? I wish. That tune will be running around in my head until …..well, until another one takes its place.

  3. March 6, 2015 - 8:14 am | Permalink

    This was a toss-up for me, but in the end I was swayed by Balthazaar’s mysterious life and his connection to the birth story.

  4. Jon Hopper's Gravatar Jon Hopper
    March 6, 2015 - 8:17 am | Permalink

    My vote is for Cecilia, purely for the Blue Oyster Cult reference. Any patron saint that influenced more cow bell, gets my vote.

    • Linda McConnell's Gravatar Linda McConnell
      March 6, 2015 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Too funny, when I read the name “Balthazaar” I thought of Blue Oyster Cult’s E.T.I. But I came down on the side of Cecelia (and I’ve had E.T.I. in my head all day)

    • TJ's Gravatar TJ
      March 6, 2015 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

      There’s a picture of St. Cecilia in the choir rehearsal room (aptly named for her) at my church. She is in fact holding what appears to be a cow bell. Her presence didn’t seem to help me stay in tune but I’m voting for her anyway. LOL

  5. Mary W. Cox's Gravatar Mary W. Cox
    March 6, 2015 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Music takes breath, time;
    Cecilia, deprived of both,
    sang in her heart.

    To sing while dying would be a glorious–not mention operatic–way to go! Cecilia gets this aging chorister’s vote.

    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      March 6, 2015 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

      What a lovely commentary on Cecilia! Thank you for that.

    • Bernadette Hartsough's Gravatar Bernadette Hartsough
      March 6, 2015 - 5:42 pm | Permalink

      i too must vote for Cecilia. While in Rome a few years ago, I saw the sculpture done of her incorruptible body. It is on display at her church. The sculpture is eerie in that it is very realistic. Looking at someone so young and yet willing to suffer so much took my breath away. Also, her church is built over her home which was said to be an early Christian gathering place/ church. Before today I was a lurker. I was the first vote today. Did I break the system?

  6. Joyce's Gravatar Joyce
    March 6, 2015 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Sorry SEC – These are kinda fairy tale – ishy ‘saints – just didn’t buy these two as worthy of the opportunity to be even remotely considered for the Golden Halo – So there you go, one women’s opinion.

    • Kris Austin's Gravatar Kris Austin
      March 6, 2015 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Agreed! This is one match-up that needs a ” c) none of the above” option. I leave this one to the rest of you.

  7. March 6, 2015 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    After Hildegard’s narrow loss yesterday to the well-deserving pilgrim Egeria, it’s up to Cecilia to represent the celestial choirs into the Saintly Sixteen — she’s got my vote!

  8. CMCrosby's Gravatar CMCrosby
    March 6, 2015 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    Church choirs! One of my favorite ministries. (Also, Cecelia is a Roman, and that makes her special, on my heart.)

    • Robert Bruce's Gravatar Robert Bruce
      March 7, 2015 - 1:12 am | Permalink

      Indeed! This was a no-brainer for me, being a humble member of the choir at St. Cecelia’s Parish. I’m hoping for a golden halo for Cecelia.

  9. March 6, 2015 - 8:22 am | Permalink

    So lemme see… Someone who probably didn’t exist versus someone who probably did but there’s not a lot to go on. I’m not complainin’ but…. Sure wish we could have more match ups with real bonafide human saints!

    • March 6, 2015 - 8:25 am | Permalink

      And, BTW, Cecilia it is! Being a [former?] musician and cantor I can hardly vote else wise.

    • Bernadette Hartsough's Gravatar Bernadette Hartsough
      March 7, 2015 - 7:57 am | Permalink

      Cecilia’s crypt and body exists in Rome. When it was opened, her body, the way it was viewed was sculpted. Her body showed the cuts on her neck. There is also archeological evidence that her house exists. I’ve been to her original crypt in the catacombs in Rome. It clearly has her name in Latin. Maybe some of her story has been exaggerated through the ages but she clearly existed.

  10. Deborah DeManno's Gravatar Deborah DeManno
    March 6, 2015 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    so, the website is bogging down and my vote won’t go through. Page has crashed twice in trying. My guess is the choirs and musicians of the world are trying to give Cecilia a lead out of the gate? I’ll try later, when the smoke clears.

    • March 6, 2015 - 8:32 am | Permalink

      Same here. Bah!

    • Lisa the lurker's Gravatar Lisa the lurker
      March 6, 2015 - 2:50 pm | Permalink

      HA! Where there’s smoke… Thurifers unite. Go Balthazar!

      • March 6, 2015 - 3:50 pm | Permalink


      • MegN's Gravatar MegN
        March 6, 2015 - 7:28 pm | Permalink

        This was a nice, even match of confirm-ability…
        So we go to the next level, associations. Two very good friends at church have chosen “Cecilia” as their Christian name.
        On the other hand, I was Balthazar in the church Mystery Play this year, and are on very good terms with both our church thurifers and the rectors who request their services… The world would be less without the mild use of incense, and the Nativity less full without the presence of the 3 magi…
        I am also a bit leery of those who would define Christianity by just one or two denominations – Rome is not the center of the church, Christ is. Traditions of other branches of the church need to be honored and remembered.
        Balthazar it is!

  11. Margaret's Gravatar Margaret
    March 6, 2015 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if my vote was counted or not. The link from the email did not work, so went directly to the webpage to read about Balthazar vs. Cecilia. Then, when I voted, was stuck on “loading”. So, if the voting is off by one vote, my vote was for Balthazar.
    I have used this as my Lenten Discipline this year. The learning about saints has been inspiring.

  12. Michele's Gravatar Michele
    March 6, 2015 - 1:42 pm | Permalink

    The collect for Balthazar did it for me.

  13. Carol's Gravatar Carol
    March 6, 2015 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    As a long-time choir member, I must vote for Cecilia, although the information about Balthazar was fascinating. I always thought he was sort of “made up” during the Middle Ages, but apparently it took that long for his name to make its way from the east into western culture. If his opposite number hadn’t been Cecilia, I might just have voted for him.

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      March 6, 2015 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you, Carol. It was wonderful to read about the possibility that Balthazar (and maybe the others) were real people and to learn more about the legends of the Magi/Kings.
      But having spent the better part of 60 years–starting quite young in Junior Choir–in church choirs (not to mention the occasional playing for services in a few places) I just had to go with Cecelia.
      Maybe if Balthazar has another opportunity….

  14. Thomas van Brunt's Gravatar Thomas van Brunt
    March 6, 2015 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Balthazar, another saint invented out of thin air. Oh Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart!

    Glad you are back on line. I’m still not getting e mail from you.

  15. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    March 6, 2015 - 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I love the collect for Balthazar. I voted for Cecelia, though. Even if the details are fuzzy, she was outspoken and faithful even in danger and praised God to the end.

  16. March 6, 2015 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Yeah! We’re back live!

  17. March 6, 2015 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I have to cast my vote for Cecilia. The fact that she sang as they tried three times to kill her is very moving. AND my Mom, (may she rest in peace), shared the same name. So it’s Cecilia all the way!!!!

  18. Roberta's Gravatar Roberta
    March 6, 2015 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Still receiving “Error 404 Not Found” on link from email, but able to get around it. Just goes to show you how popular is Lent Madness!

  19. j's Gravatar j
    March 6, 2015 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

    “Error 404” – yes – finally was able to access the text.

  20. Buffalogal's Gravatar Buffalogal
    March 6, 2015 - 2:05 pm | Permalink

    As a life-time choir member, I know that music brings solace, joy, and bolsters us in times of question. I voted for the Balthazar because sometimes curiosity requires courage and it never occurred to me that the three travelers can provide inspiration and example for curiosity’s subsequent doubts. In short, I voted for him because I learned something new! Thanks SEC.

  21. Nanese A. Hawthorne's Gravatar Nanese A. Hawthorne
    March 6, 2015 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Balthazar; a man on a mission!

  22. Marilyn D's Gravatar Marilyn D
    March 6, 2015 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been singing in choirs since I was “knee-high to a grasshopper” (that’s a southern expression, to all you snow-weary northerners) and have a vocal performance degree. The story of Cecilia is sweet but I find Balthazar much more interesting. I’ve always be fascinated by the stories of the wise men. My vote goes to him.

  23. Susan's Gravatar Susan
    March 6, 2015 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Balthazar. My father was named after the 3 wise men, yep, makes for an interesting signature. More importantly, through him (them) we have an amazing witness to holy wanderlust

  24. Mary W.'s Gravatar Mary W.
    March 6, 2015 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I love music, and of the two candidates, I’m more inclined to believe that Cecilia actually existed, but the wonderful collect made my vote swing over to Balthazaar.

  25. Brenda McH's Gravatar Brenda McH
    March 6, 2015 - 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I, too, had some difficulty with possibly fictional characters, but the themes and messages ring true. Cecilia seems more “real” so she has my vote. And besides, I work for a music organization.

  26. Phil Kober's Gravatar Phil Kober
    March 6, 2015 - 2:15 pm | Permalink

    As a choir member, soloist, cantor, arranger, etc. I HAVE to vote for the patron saint of musicians and singers. And I am also a fan of Simon and Garfunkel!!!! St. Cecilia gets my vote!

  27. Megan's Gravatar Megan
    March 6, 2015 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Balthazar, as the representative of those unknown witnesses throughout the life of Christ, gets my vote. Nothing against Cecilia, just it had to be Balthazar. Plus, he has the best name.

  28. pHil's Gravatar pHil
    March 6, 2015 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Cecelia will soar through so I’m gonna give a toast to Balthazar. Face it, my bones will never be sought by the Cologne Cathedral and I’ve done a lot of good and I even exist! (I’ve also seen the Cologne Cathedral.) Earlier in LM we recognized the great value of persons in scripture despite the the fact they “were dead for most of the time” in their story. Balthazar tops them by having “changed the world” without being alive or dead. So those bones have got my vote. And I trust my choir director will forgive me.

  29. Wendy Webster Coakley's Gravatar Wendy Webster Coakley
    March 6, 2015 - 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Error 404 just became vote 666 (mine). Someone else vote quickly, please!

  30. Jerri's Gravatar Jerri
    March 6, 2015 - 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I am impressed that Lent Madness traffic exceeded unlimited bandwidth. Surely, that must be some kind of modern miraculous event??? Glad you’re back up and running.

  31. Ellen B.'s Gravatar Ellen B.
    March 6, 2015 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I was in a St. Cecilia choir growing up and am now an aging chorister, but this was a hard choice for me. I love that the Wise Men were the source of belief in areas not covered by early missionary journeys!

  32. Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
    March 6, 2015 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

    As a professional musician, I would be expected to vote for the legendary Cecilia, who inspired so much great music (forgive me, also, granddaughter). Why Balthazar? Holy Week is coming, and one of my annual disciplines is to reread the extraordinary cycle of radio plays by Dorothy L. Sayers, “The Man Born to Be King” (1943). She brings Balthazar back in the Passion Play (#11 of 12) in a remarkable appearance. These plays (still in print), and the extensive commentaries provided for each, are filled with insight (e.g., she gives the only plausible explanation I have ever encountered for “the Penitent Thief on the cross”) and inspiration. In honor of her (I’d say brilliant) use of the character, I voted for Balthazar.

    • Viola's Gravatar Viola
      March 6, 2015 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Although I can’t express this as eloquently, I have sung in choirs for many years and might be expected to vote for Cecilia. However, this is all madness anyway, and I fell in love with Balthasar via “Amahl and the Night Visitors”, and found Megan Castellan’s piece most interesting too. So it is Balthasar for me!

  33. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 6, 2015 - 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Cecelia Day is my birthday. And feast day if CS Lewis. Gets my vote

  34. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    March 6, 2015 - 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I have seen the Drei Konige in Cologne, but Cecilia, music and singing win my heart and vote…… be able to sing her way through the pain inflicted……WOW!

  35. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Lucy Porter
    March 6, 2015 - 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m voting for Cecilia partly because of the musical connection, but I also admire what we know of her life. In grad school days, I had a friend named Cecile who couldn’t sing a note. I, on the other hand, share a name with the patron saint of vision, St. Lucy, and my vision had always been poor due to Marfan Syndrome. Cecile and I thought maybe we should trade names! I’m relieved to learn that others had trouble with the website this morning too. First I got error messages saying that Safari (The Mac’s browser) couldn’t access the server. Later, I got on the website but there was another error message there–404 or some such thing. I thought that somehow all this trouble was due to my software upgrade, but the old computer had the same problem. Seems to be working just fine now. Hallelujah!

  36. anita's Gravatar anita
    March 6, 2015 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    If the vote total is low, it may be due to error 404 (whatever that is). However, one of the side effects of being infected with lentmadness is tenacity. So I did manage to find the post and vote for Balthazar. After all that was a long journey, and he did not even get frequent camel miles.

  37. Stephanie Bradbury's Gravatar Stephanie Bradbury
    March 6, 2015 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Voted for Balthazaar on the basis of that fabulous collect!

  38. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 6, 2015 - 2:35 pm | Permalink

    For the St. Cecelia window with Kansas blue glass in St. Scholastica Chapel at the Benedictine Convent in Atchison, KS, and for my dad calling her a b*&%^, yelling at us to turn off that damned song when Cecilia broke Paul Simon’s heart, and now how the song is one of the few things that makes dad smile, for that it must be Cecilia.

  39. Cassandra's Gravatar Cassandra
    March 6, 2015 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Benjamin Britten’s beautiful “Hymn to St. Cecilia” with text by W.H. Auden:

    • March 6, 2015 - 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the beautiful Hymn to St. Cecilia. Made my day.

    • Claire's Gravatar Claire
      March 6, 2015 - 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Cassandra for posting this glorious Britten/Auden Hymn. My community choir made a valiant effort in learning and performing this. It was truly an out-of-body experience. Myth or not. Cecilia continues to be a muse and an inspiration.

  40. Christi Hill's Gravatar Christi Hill
    March 6, 2015 - 2:37 pm | Permalink

    The optimist whose vote wouldn’t go through at 825AM— I couldn’t even get the biographical material at 215PM. The fix on the page didn’t work. I had to go round through Facebook. Probably the reason there have been very few voters. The section carries a 4o4 error

    My first degree relatives are ALL choir singers, as am I. One of them even carries Cecilia’s name. Of course I voted for Cecilia.

  41. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 6, 2015 - 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Was voting for Cecilia before I saw her Feast Day is my birthday..yes to Cecilia!

  42. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 6, 2015 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Please tell me that the Paul Simon connection to St. Cecilia isn’t the song, “Cecilia”…

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      March 6, 2015 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Oh, Cecelia, you’re breaking my bracket…

      • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
        March 6, 2015 - 3:11 pm | Permalink

        oops, Cecilia

  43. Ann E's Gravatar Ann E
    March 6, 2015 - 2:51 pm | Permalink

    If my vote – cast at 8:30-ish, just as the site was going down – was recorded, it went to Cecilia, mostly because Dryden’s “Song for Saint Cecilia’s Day” is one of my most favorite:

    As from the power of sacred lays
    The spheres began to move,
    And sung the great Creator’s praise
    To all the bless’d above;
    So when the last and dreadful hour
    This crumbling pageant shall devour,
    The trumpet shall be heard on high,
    The dead shall live, the living die,
    And Music shall untune the sky.

  44. Marie's Gravatar Marie
    March 6, 2015 - 2:53 pm | Permalink

    How can I not vote for Cecilia? It was my grandmother’s name.

  45. NJ's Gravatar NJ
    March 6, 2015 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Cecilia got my vote (I hope, since I voted but saw a 0 afterwards). As a longtime choir member, and also a fan of Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia, she must get my vote. Balthazar’s collect almost swayed me. But Cecilia won out for me.

  46. Mark E's Gravatar Mark E
    March 6, 2015 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    As a faithful (mostly) member of the choir at St. Martin’s, I’m practically required to vote for Cecelia. It doesn’t hurt that she’s (probably) a real person too…

  47. jack zamboni's Gravatar jack zamboni
    March 6, 2015 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Very easy for me, a singer. I have an icon of Cecilia in my office. 🙂

  48. Susan Crawford's Gravatar Susan Crawford
    March 6, 2015 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Still singing after much torture and suffering….Cecilia gets my vote!

  49. A Different Jennifer's Gravatar A Different Jennifer
    March 6, 2015 - 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I admire Cecelia’s tenacity and inspirational example but am voting for Balthazar (and friends) who inspired three of my favourite things:
    1. The song of the three kings in Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” as they search for a kingly but poor Child “the colour of wheat…earth…thorn…dawn”;
    2. “The Journey of the Magi” by T.S. Eliot – even better during Lent than Epiphany;
    3. James Taylor’s “Home By Another Way”.

    4. Great collect.

    • Charlotte's Gravatar Charlotte
      March 6, 2015 - 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Balthazar had me at the collect!

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      March 6, 2015 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Lovely references indeed.

  50. March 6, 2015 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Blessed Cecilia! I finally picked a saint who is already ahead in the polls! My bracket was busted on day one, and I have successfully chosen the loser in every match up until today. But I refuse to take responsibility for taking down the Lent Madness website this morning – it was already broken before I could cast my vote, which is based not on Simon & Garfunkel, but on Benjamin Britten, whose Hymn to St. Cecilia is one of my favorite choral works. So there.

    • Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
      March 6, 2015 - 8:22 pm | Permalink

      You’re ahead of me, Jo Anne. I have “lost” every one of the 13 match-ups so far (voting before I look at results, not checking results and then voting for the underdog). Assuming statistical independence, the odds of this in probability theory are 8191 to 1. We don’t even have that many voters! (To be fair, I’ve done rather better in the three previous years, generally about 50%.)

  51. March 6, 2015 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    What an effort to cast a vote for choirs! I love incense. But I love any woman who sings as the meanies attempt to kill her.

  52. Snacktime's Gravatar Snacktime
    March 6, 2015 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Balthazar for me. My parish is Church of the Epiphany, so he has a home here. Or at least a place to crash on his travels.

    March 6, 2015 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Who is next? St. Christopher? These saints lack, shall we say, flesh and blood. I have prayed to Cecilia for a reliable high ‘G’, and a mystical explanation of Anglican chant.

  54. Kay Richardson's Gravatar Kay Richardson
    March 6, 2015 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Balthazar seems the more plausible of the two, given the trade route connection. The Early Roman Church was awash in young virgin martyrs, many of whom were probably amalgams. Some may even have been classical muses who morphed into popular saints.

  55. dewluca's Gravatar dewluca
    March 6, 2015 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting an error when I try to look at the results (which I usually check before voting to see if one of the saints needs a hand :). Even so, I feel the need to try to get a musician into the Saintly 16, so will try to vote for Cecilia.

  56. Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
    March 6, 2015 - 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I of course adore music and poetry, and against another opponent I’d surely have voted for Cecilia – but I voted for Balthazar.

    I think it’s partly because I was a wandering seeker for many years, too. But also because I love the mystical, illuminated season of Epiphany – it may be my favorite season – and I love the gathering-in of the Gentiles that the three kings represent: “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.” From one end of the earth to the other, IOW.

    There’s plenty of wonderful music during Epiphanytide – and “The Journey of the Magi” for poetry, too. Not to mention O. Henry’s great “The Gift of the Magi”; with Balthazarr, you get the best of both worlds. Great art , too – the Ravenna mosaic in the image above, for instance. King’s cake. Instead of writing to Santa, kids in some cultures write the Three Kings.

    I love the Xia story, which I’ve never heard before. Balthazar!

  57. Jennifer W.'s Gravatar Jennifer W.
    March 6, 2015 - 3:05 pm | Permalink

    having sung in church choirs since I was eight years old, and having met my husband through music, this was a no brainer. Balthasar and his fellow Magi are interesting, and important, but Cecilia all the way!

  58. John Lawyer's Gravatar John Lawyer
    March 6, 2015 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

    You left out the most important part of the story — St. Cecilia is also credited with inventing the pipe organ! That is why she is so celebrated by musicians. There is a much better painting of her by Gentileschi in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, “St. Cecilia and the Angel,” which shows her at the organ.

  59. March 6, 2015 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I especially like Cecilia’s collect about flaming musicians…

  60. Grace's Gravatar Grace
    March 6, 2015 - 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Well, as a former chorister and church music director, I felt honor-bound to vote for Cecelia! Beside, she was a real person, as opposed to a made up one! That said, however, if B was, indeed a real person, then I suspect the crash of the website today might have been the work of his two jealous cronies…just sayin’

  61. Scott, a shepherd's Gravatar Scott, a shepherd
    March 6, 2015 - 3:10 pm | Permalink

    “Cecelia, your breaking my heart, you’re shaking my confidence daily”
    I’m voting Balthazaar, it’s about the Collect.

  62. Diane Norton's Gravatar Diane Norton
    March 6, 2015 - 3:11 pm | Permalink


  63. Bill Ericson's Gravatar Bill Ericson
    March 6, 2015 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Can’t, as some have said, say that the Maji/Wise Men/Sages were not real, I think they were. However, the name was made up somewhere in the depths of time long after the visit. By vote goes to Cecelia a true matter of the faith.

  64. David M.'s Gravatar David M.
    March 6, 2015 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I’ve often wanted to choke the church organist, so as penance, I voted for Cecelia.

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      March 6, 2015 - 6:28 pm | Permalink


    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      March 6, 2015 - 7:02 pm | Permalink

      I’ve wanted to choke the off-key person who stood behind me in choir but I never got the chance. Dang. But still unrepentant, I voted for Balthazar. Neener neener.

    • Janis Rosebrook's Gravatar Janis Rosebrook
      March 6, 2015 - 11:45 pm | Permalink

      David, your comment made me laugh out loud! I shall always fondly remember an organist (location, name withheld) who started to play the organ during the rector’s sermon. It is quite a long story, but remember the near riot it caused, even though I was about 12 at the time.

  65. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    March 6, 2015 - 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Easy choice today.
    While I admire the wise man who sought out Our Savior, I have to do with Cecilia.
    I am a singer, but I am inspired by her faith in action.
    Any woman who can convert her husband and brother-in-law impresses me.
    But and woman who continues to praise God while being stabbed, suffocated and beheaded has my vote!!!!!

  66. Heidi Frantz-Dale's Gravatar Heidi Frantz-Dale
    March 6, 2015 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Well, music lost out yesterday when Egeria trumped Hildegard. Where would be without music — in the liturgy and in the world. My vote goes to St. Cecelia!

  67. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 6, 2015 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice today. Both outstanding saints. Had to vote for St. Cecilia.

  68. Walter Gladwin's Gravatar Walter Gladwin
    March 6, 2015 - 3:23 pm | Permalink

    My birthday is the same as the Feast Day of St. Cecilia (Nov. 22nd), and I am a professional musician. Whom do you think I voted?

  69. Sudie Blanchard's Gravatar Sudie Blanchard
    March 6, 2015 - 3:23 pm | Permalink

    These words by W.H Auden say it all. If you’ve never heard the Britten setting, listen now, and be inspired to vote for the blessed Cecilia…
    My vote goes to Cecilia.

    “In a garden shady this holy lady
    With reverent cadence and subtle psalm,
    Like a black swan as death came on
    Poured forth her song in perfect calm:
    And by ocean’s margin this innocent virgin
    Constructed an organ to enlarge her prayer,
    And notes tremendous from her great engine
    Thundered out on the Roman air.
    Blonde Aphrodite rose up excited,
    Moved to delight by the melody,
    White as an orchid she rode quite naked
    In an oyster shell on top of the sea;
    At sounds so entrancing the angels dancing
    Came out of their trance into time again,
    And around the wicked in Hell’s abysses
    The huge flame flickered and eased their pain.
    Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions
    To all musicians, appear and inspire:
    Translated Daughter, come down and startle
    Composing mortals with immortal fire.”

    • Barbara S.'s Gravatar Barbara S.
      March 6, 2015 - 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Wow, that’s wonderful! Thanks for posting it…..

    • Diane's Gravatar Diane
      March 6, 2015 - 6:50 pm | Permalink

      One of my favorite pieces by Britten! As a life-long church musician (singer since I was 3), I had to vote for Cecilia today and Hildegard yesterday. Both votes seemed to me to be a moral imperative.

  70. Marney's Gravatar Marney
    March 6, 2015 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Against almost anyone else, I’d have voted for Balthazaar, but I’ve sung in too many church choirs not to vote for Cecilia.

  71. March 6, 2015 - 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Poor SEC: the electrons are against you. Good luck getting it fixed; I am not sure even this comment will work. But, FWIW: yesterday I could not vote for BOTH the musician and the chronicler, so today I vote for the musician. None of the 3 kings stack up well against other saints, I’m afraid!

  72. Robert Kent's Gravatar Robert Kent
    March 6, 2015 - 3:28 pm | Permalink

    We three kings of Orient are…

  73. Elaine Culver's Gravatar Elaine Culver
    March 6, 2015 - 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Cecilia because 1)there’s more evidence that she actually lived, 2) she was martyred, and 3) I love music, especially the late 16th century’s greatest hits.

  74. Amanda's Gravatar Amanda
    March 6, 2015 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    “…is a real heartbreaker and can shake the confidence of even the most devoted researcher.”

    I see what you did there. I see it, and I like it.

  75. Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
    March 6, 2015 - 3:30 pm | Permalink

    As between the two, Cecilia’s legends at least accrete around an actual person. Balthazar, on the other hand, seems himself to be a symbolic accretion around persons, known to Scripture only as an indefinite group, who may themselves be legendary. A personification of a concept, in other words. For me that should disqualify him from brackethood. If he actually won the Halo, it might dissolve into a miasma — imagine the consternation that would create at the Awards Ceremony!

    Besides, in my comparative youth I sang with the Boston Cecelia and will never forget doing Benjamin Britten’s setting of the Auden text kindly provided by Sudie Blanchard.

  76. Lynn Bonney's Gravatar Lynn Bonney
    March 6, 2015 - 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Casting a vote for Balthazaar, a sage of curiosity, vision and perseverance.

  77. March 6, 2015 - 3:33 pm | Permalink

    What about James Taylor and Home By Another Way? Go Balthazar..

  78. William Osborne's Gravatar William Osborne
    March 6, 2015 - 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Same continuing server problems, SEC. I voted ,but my computer is stuck in limboland. Ceceilia gets my vote even though I could not carry a tune in a large bucket.

  79. Bill Kaufman's Gravatar Bill Kaufman
    March 6, 2015 - 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Easy to vote for someone who probably existed over someone who is clearly the figment of the imagination

  80. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    March 6, 2015 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank Heaven for now-working servers!

  81. Cheryle's Gravatar Cheryle
    March 6, 2015 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I do love incense, but I knew I would vote for Cecilia from the beginning. I sang in St. Cecilia’s Choir as a child, but more importantly, my mother, Cecilia, was named for her (using the Latin spelling, with two i’s), and, while she would bristle at being called saintly, she certainly was a woman of strong faith, courage, and perseverance. And so, to honor my mother as well as the music of the Church, I raise my glass to (and cast my vote for) St. Cecilia!

  82. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 6, 2015 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Tried to vote this morning and couldn’t-glad you’re back up and running.
    Had to vote for Cecelia as I love to sing.

  83. March 6, 2015 - 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Balthazaar – as a Zoroastrian he would have held dogs in high esteem, as do I. I live with many dogs at Sanctuary House and am currently writing a book about them, so had to go with the wise man!

  84. KLF's Gravatar KLF
    March 6, 2015 - 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I was pretty sure I would vote for Cecilia, but after reading the bios, I decided to support the underdog and man of mystery. I’m quite sure he’ll lose, but I’m happy to give Balthazaar one more point on his way out.

    I was SO GRATEFUL that Lent Madness has a Facebook page and to be able to follow what was going on while the site was down. If there’s an app that counts ATTEMPTED sign-ons, I’ll bet LM has maxed out to number 1.

    See you Monday.

  85. Laura's Gravatar Laura
    March 6, 2015 - 3:54 pm | Permalink

    My confirmation name is Cecilia, as I was an aspiring pianist, and it was my grandmother’s confirmation name, too. And the Simon and Garfunkel song rocks, so there’s that.

  86. Linda Sturtevant's Gravatar Linda Sturtevant
    March 6, 2015 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I have celebrated three Kings Night in Venezuela and Puerto Rico, a lovely tradition involving children roller skating for hours and, of course, candy and gifts. Balthazar for me!
    To the SEC: no blaming during Lent for blizzards and breakdowns beyond your control. Absolve, absolve!

  87. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 6, 2015 - 3:55 pm | Permalink

    “Bless all those who travel, and all those who seek the truth as part of their journey.” – To seek the truth is the ultimate journey! Balthazar it is.

  88. Simon's Gravatar Simon
    March 6, 2015 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

    There is a good overview of the multiplicity of pious traditions concerning the Magi, their number, names, places of origin, further adventures and eventual demises at Cecelia, despite the incompleteness of her CV, has the great advantage of having apparently been a real, identifiable person.

  89. Tim Murray's Gravatar Tim Murray
    March 6, 2015 - 4:01 pm | Permalink

    The many, many points of connection between my faith journey and music, learning to sing well, singing with choirs of several different denominations (and also the local Jewish synagogue when our friends were in Bar- and Bat-Mitzvah time), and how music led into other life paths and relationships, all lead me to vote for Cecilia. The “this is a brutal choice” piece for me in today’s match-up is my memory of preparing and ultimately singing with two extraordinary gentlemen the Journey of the Magi canticle by Benjamin Britten — a musical and spiritual high point. And so Balthazaar and his traveling companions pull on my heart. In the end, gratitude for the numerous church musicians I have been blessed to know, and agreement with the sense that God’s vocalization is singing, clinches the deal for Cecilia. Or so it seems to me.

  90. Josie's Gravatar Josie
    March 6, 2015 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    As a musician and music teacher I had to vote for Cecilia – but my heart is with Balthazar! That collect!

  91. mary ann's Gravatar mary ann
    March 6, 2015 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Had to vote for St. Cecilia. Even though I am not particularly musical myself, I always feel closer to God when I hear the church choir and hymns.

  92. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    March 6, 2015 - 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed both biographies, but didn’t feel a reach out and grab by the elbow, so I went to and put in their names .. Balthazar for the vote today.

  93. Danielle Clark's Gravatar Danielle Clark
    March 6, 2015 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Sempad’s letter was the game changer for me.

  94. Donald Lowery's Gravatar Donald Lowery
    March 6, 2015 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, any critical commentary on Matthew’s Gospel will reveal that the visit of the Magi was a pious fiction, probably composed by the author of the Gospel. At least that is what I was taught in NT class in Seminary and also read in a number of the aforementioned commentaries. Since Balthazar probably never existed, and Cecilia (for all the lack of information) did, I opted for a real historical figure. Besides, I like Dryden’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day as set to musick by the incomparable Mr. Handel, both of whom also really existed.
    Having said that, I will admit I still believe in the visit of the Magi, at least when I read Eliot’s equally incomparable poem as well as on every Feast of the Epiphany and other times when it suits me. After all, None of the commentators was there and as I learned from Reginald Fuller in said NT class, a lot of German New Testament scholarship is pious fiction as well.. He said all the radical stuff originated in the Black Forest, even if disseminated by American or UK scholars. Hah! How is that for Anglican-Episcopal fence straddling!?!

    • Jim Sliney's Gravatar Jim Sliney
      March 6, 2015 - 4:41 pm | Permalink

      The Magi were wise men from the East who practiced genuine Astrology, not the garden variety found in newspapers. It is very likely that they were familiar with the religious writings of the Judeans who were exiled to Babylon in the 6th Century BCE. Some of these Judeans may have remained behind or set up permanent synagogues and/or made converts to their religion. My point is that the information needed by the Magi was very likely available in the region of Babylon at the time of the Magi.
      It turns out that that there was an astronomical event around 6 BCE that the Magi could have interpreted to be a sign that the Judeans had a new very special King.
      The question about how many Magi and what their names were is a matter of speculation.

  95. Byron Long's Gravatar Byron Long
    March 6, 2015 - 4:22 pm | Permalink

    If music is where you at, then you cannot disregard the beauty of We Three Kings, or We Three Kings of Orient Are. From the classic church hymn to the jazz version by the Wynton Marsalis Group, Balthazar and the other two kings rock! Nothing against Cecilla, but Balthazar helped usher in the beginning of many traditions and the ultimate the birth of Christ.

  96. Denise's Gravatar Denise
    March 6, 2015 - 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Cecilia is my vote! Gotta love a gal who sang through torture!

  97. Nancy Gilmour's Gravatar Nancy Gilmour
    March 6, 2015 - 4:29 pm | Permalink

    St. Cecilia Mass by Charles Gunoud has anchored my experience of Easter and Advent for many years. And I agree with Elaine. Today’s vote will be easier for me.

  98. Juli Towell's Gravatar Juli Towell
    March 6, 2015 - 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I recommend a novel called “Lamb” which is about Jesus’ boyhood and his search for the Wisemen along with his best friend Bif. It is very funny. Anyone who has children and especially boys will enjoy the beginning.

  99. Jim Sliney's Gravatar Jim Sliney
    March 6, 2015 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

    The Magi were wise men from the East who practiced genuine Astrology, not the garden variety found in newspapers. It is very likely that they were familiar with the religious writings of the Judeans who were exiled to Babylon in the 6th Century BCE. Some of these Judeans may have remained behind or set up permanent synagogues and/or made converts to their religion. My point is that the information needed by the Magi was very likely available in the region of Babylon at the time of the Magi.
    It turns out that that there was an astronomical event around 6 BCE that the Magi could have interpreted to be a sign that the Judeans had a new very special King.
    The question about how many Magi and what their names were is a matter of speculation.

  100. Brian Dahlvig's Gravatar Brian Dahlvig
    March 6, 2015 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Why isn’t there a patron saint of film history geeks?

  101. Bill Petersen's Gravatar Bill Petersen
    March 6, 2015 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Who’s next? St Christopher vs St George??? Is it fair to let “ghost” seeds compete against saints who were really real?

    • March 6, 2015 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Great question and one I hope the SEC thinks seriously about when deciding next year’s bracket, IMO.

  102. Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
    March 6, 2015 - 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m very involved in amatuer theatre and therefore involved with music. So I pray to Cecilia frequently. She gets my vote. But I think it’s great that one of the Magi is in the bracket!

  103. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    March 6, 2015 - 4:47 pm | Permalink

    It’s Balthazar today. Ifound out what happened to him when I read Christopher Moore’s book Lamb, the Gospel According to Biff.

    • Lea's Gravatar Lea
      March 6, 2015 - 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Obviously a source of absolute, heavily researched and indisputable truth. Glad I was able to read this apocryphal gospel – it should never have been left out of the Bible. What were they thinking?

      • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
        March 6, 2015 - 8:17 pm | Permalink


  104. Lithophyte's Gravatar Lithophyte
    March 6, 2015 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

    We found the stories very interesting in spite of not much data to back them up; Because I am fond of music I went with Cecila.

  105. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    March 6, 2015 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Both of the collects are wonderful. Holy curiosity and musicians blessed with Pentecostal fire–wonderful ways to glorify God.

  106. March 6, 2015 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Phew! Thought we’d never get to vote! I was having Lent withdrawal. Thanks for getting the Madness back up. Cecilia’s got my vote. Brave soul to bury the martyred. I imagine she sang all the way to their grave.

  107. BetsyA's Gravatar BetsyA
    March 6, 2015 - 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I had the pleasure of visiting the reliquary in Cologne – it is something to see and muse over. As some of the others have said, if he were up against someone else, Balthazar may have gotten my vote, but as a choir member, and especially since both of my kids sang in the St. Cecilia choir, I must go with her!

  108. Arnold's Gravatar Arnold
    March 6, 2015 - 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I usually vote for folks (1) whose impact is as much historical as it is hagiographic and (2) who produced influential writings–sadley,this has NOT been a good year for the great Teachers/Doctors of the Church such as Theresa of Avila, Bede, and Hildegard of Bingen!– but today I vote Balthazar for three reasons:
    1. The Magi signify the extension of God’s revelation in Christ to the Gentiles.
    2. As an academic, I value attention to detail, research, thoughtful interpretation, and rational thought. The Magi were the academics of their day, and they used their observation of and attention to the heavens, plus their research, and interpretive and reasoning skills to come to the conclusion that they needed to adore Jesus as King. Well done!
    3. One of my favorite films is Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar, which is about a donkey named Balthazar, who, as an animal, lives a saintly, Christ-imaging life. Different “saint” Balthazar, but I’m guessing a film-character donkey isn’t likely to appear on any calendar of saints!

  109. Rose Mahan's Gravatar Rose Mahan
    March 6, 2015 - 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I finally DID vote. Guess I am no longer a lurker as I am commenting. I had go go with Cecilia. I love music, as do my adult children. All of them as kids belonged to the St. Cecilia Music Club. And I taught Dryden’s Ode to that saint. But it was a hard choice.

  110. Dana's Gravatar Dana
    March 6, 2015 - 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Sudie for posting the Auden poem. I wanted to do so earlier but was experiencing website difficulties. Perhaps Blessed Cecilia and her music can soothe the savage Server….

  111. Pat's Gravatar Pat
    March 6, 2015 - 5:08 pm | Permalink

    God does work in mysterious ways: without the gifts from the 3 Kings (whom I believe Bathazar was one), Mary, Joseph & Baby Jesus might not have had means to flee to Egypt right after Jesus’ birth to escape the death threat put on all male infants by wicked Herod, and to stay there until Herod’s death. The protocol practiced by these 3 of stopping by to pay homage to Herod on their way into Bethlehem, says they were not your average travelers, but noblemen or higher who wanted to reassure Herod their intentions were of visitation, not of threatening his kingdom.
    The gripping story of Jesus divine conception, obtaining Mary & Joseph’s total acceptance and support to bring the Baby into this world; to love and to protect against great odds and evil doers required a number of elements to come together, as a divine puzzle. My vote goes for Bathazar, who I believe really existed, and who literally helped save the day for this young couple and their precious Baby.

  112. Alec Clement's Gravatar Alec Clement
    March 6, 2015 - 5:12 pm | Permalink

    While I chose Cecilia for a number of reasons…many musical…love Balthazer..particularly as depicted in Amahl… “this is my box” he sings..and while there may have been gold, frankinsense and myrrh…he also had some licorice….I always saw him as childlike and delightdfully innocent.

    • Davis Dassori's Gravatar Davis Dassori
      March 6, 2015 - 11:10 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it Caspar who sings that?

  113. Linda DelaCruz's Gravatar Linda DelaCruz
    March 6, 2015 - 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I have sung in choirs for 60 years and in church choirs for 55. Had to be Cecelia.

  114. March 6, 2015 - 5:14 pm | Permalink

    So glad the site is up and running so I can vote late. Cecelia it is for me, as a long time chorister. I enjoy learning about all these special leaders so much, I almost don’t care who wins, as their lives (or stories) have proven their inherent worth long before we decided to vote for them. Thank you for the information on all these special folks, who lived their faith and in so doing, provide us with inspiration.

  115. Cecile's Gravatar Cecile
    March 6, 2015 - 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Named after my Aunt Cecile, whose mother (my grandmother) was Cecilia, I’ve always been fond of music and Saint Cecilia, who gets my vote today.

  116. Roger Nicholls's Gravatar Roger Nicholls
    March 6, 2015 - 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I was undecided even after reading the mini-bios. However, the Simon and Garfunkel lobby comments got me and now I have an ear-worm that won’t stop. Go Cecelia

  117. Maria's Gravatar Maria
    March 6, 2015 - 5:32 pm | Permalink

    The musician in me speaks: Cecilia all the way!

  118. Ellen Gracie's Gravatar Ellen Gracie
    March 6, 2015 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Our choir director/organ master had a cat – Cecilia – and she was a grand cat. We all miss her. So my vote must go to Cecilia. I like B quite well for the mystery that surrounds him and his guys.

  119. Donna's Gravatar Donna
    March 6, 2015 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Having put Dads’ robes on many children for Lessons and Carols (and Megan being my Priest) I had to vote for Balthazar. I love Christmas pageants – have been involved in many and the Magi are my favorite part of the whole gang. Besides, Balthazar represents a tiny bit of diversity in the NT so GO Balthazar!!

  120. Sr. Candace, OSL's Gravatar Sr. Candace, OSL
    March 6, 2015 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Finally made it to the end of the Comments section! Is there a faster way to get here?
    Anyway, after the website error 404, I finally closed my browser and could access it to read and vote! 🙂 Thanks for getting it running again!
    As a singer all my life, I have to give my vote to Cecilia. I truly admire her songs of praise in the face of death! May I be so courageous myself!!

  121. Hilda's Gravatar Hilda
    March 6, 2015 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

    As a singer (and a member of at least 10 choirs past and present) this was a no-brainer for me. How can I go against my patron saint? Cecilia, all the way.

  122. Sandra Mueller's Gravatar Sandra Mueller
    March 6, 2015 - 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Finally, in mid-afternoon on the west coast Bay Area I could get on the website, read about Cecile and Balthazer, and vote. What happened? I called a friend on the east coast to contact y’all for help out here. Do you realize how frantic we get when our daily Lenten Madness is error 404? I loved the questing after the birth of Jesus.

  123. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 6, 2015 - 5:50 pm | Permalink

    The voting isn’t working

  124. John Colon's Gravatar John Colon
    March 6, 2015 - 5:57 pm | Permalink

    here is a life size statue of St. Cecelia in the McKittrick Room at Grace Church Brooklyn where the choir rehearses and where we keep our music and vestments! There are times when I’m struggling with a piece and I look at her and take heart.

  125. Lawrence Jagdfeld's Gravatar Lawrence Jagdfeld
    March 6, 2015 - 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I suspect I am a little biased in choosing Cecilia. Her feast day is my birthday, and I love to sing. Nonetheless, I dread the day when I have to choose between her and Francis of Assisi, two of my all time favorites.

  126. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    March 6, 2015 - 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Where is Maple Anglican on all these no contest matchups – bugs in the Clairvoyatron or is the rumor I heard about difficult contract negotiations between Lent Madness and the hallowed broadcast crew true?

    • Bonnee's Gravatar Bonnee
      March 6, 2015 - 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Maple posted he was too busy this season, unfortunately for us all.

  127. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    March 6, 2015 - 6:26 pm | Permalink

    I love the story of the Magi. But the info on Balthazar made me wonder if he existed as a real person, separate from myth. A friend of mine had a dear dog named after him. But had to go with the musician.

  128. Linda from St. Ed's's Gravatar Linda from St. Ed's
    March 6, 2015 - 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I was moved by the account of Cecilia’s powerful witness for Christ, converting 400 people including her husband and brother-in-law. She got my vote. This was a tough call though, for several reasons. I feel a special connection to the city of Cologne and its cathedral, which houses the relics of the three kings. The collect for Balthazar was also particularly moving. “Bless all those who travel, and all those who seek the truth as part of their journey.” As a traveller myself, and a seeker of truth, I can certainly identify. Amen and Amen!

  129. Linda Maloney's Gravatar Linda Maloney
    March 6, 2015 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Two possibly (one most certainly!) legendary saints. Hmm. Well, in high school I belonged to a St. Cecilia Society, and a statue of her (a small version of one that graced our high school music department) is a cherished gift from an old friend. So Cecilia for me today. (I’m still sad about Hildegard, though.)

  130. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    March 6, 2015 - 6:35 pm | Permalink

    For I am a stranger before thee and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. Had to go with Balthazar, who was drawn to Our Savior from the ends of the earth before He was lifted up.

  131. March 6, 2015 - 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I am a church musician. Today was a no-brainer (which is fortunate, since the website was down, and I couldn’t read the bios this morning to influence my decision.)

  132. Carla *Cecile*'s Gravatar Carla *Cecile*
    March 6, 2015 - 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I simply had to vote for Cecilia, as my middle name is a derivative of hers, and I am a musician. ( And I, too, am bummed about Hildegard….)

  133. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 6, 2015 - 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Have to go with Balthazar, pageants over choirs!

  134. Michelle Jackson's Gravatar Michelle Jackson
    March 6, 2015 - 7:18 pm | Permalink

    St Cecilia, of course, especially after having sung this magnificent anthem by Herbert Howells:

  135. Jan Robitscher's Gravatar Jan Robitscher
    March 6, 2015 - 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I live Balthazar, being a great fan of the Christmas operetta “Amahl and the Night Visitors” , but I am a musician, have sung in church choirs since about age 8, and have many friends who are church musicians so I had to vote for Cecilia, who I believe really existed.

  136. Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
    March 6, 2015 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I am very puzzled by those of us who only want to vote for “real” (presumably historically verifiable–that is, by some extra-canonical source?). I think all these saints–“real” or no–speak to a larger Reality that cannot be quantified, carbon-dated or captured in a photograph. How many of our great heroes or heroines of scripture can be found in the pages of “real” history? The fact that Cecilia or Balthazar are saints is because the Truth of their witness to Christ has moved and changed many, many people, all of whom were a lot less hung up on proof of their realness.
    We’re believers, right? We believe in the real presence in our lives of an undocumented Creator, an intangible Spirit, and we follow a human-God who walked on water, cast out demons and came back from the dead.
    I vote for music today. St. Cecilia!

    • Myrna Mai's Gravatar Myrna Mai
      March 6, 2015 - 8:33 pm | Permalink

      I love your comment.

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 6, 2015 - 8:39 pm | Permalink

        I’m glad!

  137. Anne Clayton's Gravatar Anne Clayton
    March 6, 2015 - 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Balthazar because when I was 10 I got to be Balthazar in the Christmas Pageant and sing his verse in We Three Kings. My first solo. But…I feel bad for letting down St. Cecilia, who’s intercession probably made my Balthazar gig a success. 🙂

  138. Kelly Pulsifer's Gravatar Kelly Pulsifer
    March 6, 2015 - 7:49 pm | Permalink

    In 1953, at the church of my youth (St Marks Episcopal, Beaumont, Texas), as a teenager, I attended the Christmas Pageant–which in our parish was an adult presentation–to be taken completely by surprise when the Three Kings each appeared in turn, walking slowly down the aisle singing his verse ‘a cappella’ and dressed in magnificent raiment (being an Episcopal parish, all of the town’s shakers and movers were members, including many from the city’s opera, symphony and theatre groups–costumes were not a problem…nor was talent). Each ‘King’ was known by the parish to have been serving in the Korean War, but unbeknownst to any of us, had just returned. As one who has been tone deaf since birth (and remains so), I was stunned by these baritones and pleased to know of their safe return. These Kings–and the troop trains passing to war through Beaumont early in the 50’s–are my most vivid memories of the Korean Conflict. Later, in my own time, I, too, served two tours in Viet Nam, but was not welcomed home and certainly not invited to sing ‘a cappella’ (or otherwise). My parish had changed, by then, as had my residence. I will never forget Balthazar, never. Therefore, he has my vote. (Of course, one could also vote for St Cecilia on the basis of the beauty of choral music in our liturgy and Christmastide. Still, I must stand with Balthazar.)

    • March 6, 2015 - 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Kelly Pulsifer, you grew up in Beaumont?? You might know some of my relatives, although they were no doubt attending the Methodist church . . . my last name was Shepherd (as in the laundry).

  139. March 6, 2015 - 7:51 pm | Permalink

    As a child I watched Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors on TV every year and loved the character of Balthazar (“This is my box”) partly because he was funny and hard of hearing, like my mother. But it was the beautiful duet “Have you seen a child the color of wheat, the color of dawn…” between the kings and Amahl’s mother that moved me deeply. For every mother, her child is sacred in a way. And then there’s the saintly donkey in Bresson’s Au Hasard, Balthasar…

  140. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 6, 2015 - 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Being a church musician, there is nothing I can do but vote for St Cecilia. It looks like I am in good company.

  141. joan's Gravatar joan
    March 6, 2015 - 8:04 pm | Permalink

    God’s undying love for us swirls in the ups and downs, rests and stops of music! Cecelia gets my vote. Are you sure the count is absolutely right on yesterday’s saints?

  142. Myrna Mai's Gravatar Myrna Mai
    March 6, 2015 - 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Another hard choice. My church organist mother and sister would probably go with Cecilia, but I was always fascinated with the stars and a special baby born under a special star. As far as I’m concerned, Balthazar is a patron saint for wanderers and seekers. Combine that with the beauty and mystery of the stars–I vote for Balthazar.

  143. Laura Lowndes's Gravatar Laura Lowndes
    March 6, 2015 - 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Loving choir, had to go with Cecilia- but also have to admit, the comment about “attempts at beheading…” brought to my mind “Nearly Headless Nick” from the Harry Potter stories!

    What is going on with the website?- never could get the email to open, but was finally able to get somewhere and find the post on it-

  144. March 6, 2015 - 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m a singer, and over my computer hangs a card featuring a stained-glass-style print of St Cecilia that my choir director gave to each of us some years ago. But I’ve never been that enthusiastic about Cecilia as the patron saint of musicians and singers. Why not Gabriel, who plays the trumpet? Miriam, who led the women in songs of jubilation? David, who wrote the psalms? Gregory, for whom Gregorian chant is named? Or Hildegard, of course?

    The best Epiphany sermon I ever heard was at a Catholic church in Wilmington, Delaware. The priest talked about the magi not just as wise men but as seekers of knowledge, of truth; and that these particular wise men had been willing to upend their lives and undertake a significant, lengthy, difficult journey in their search for truth. He then pointed out that, as we Catholics honor the magi for this, we should also respect people whose passion for truth is the reason that they are atheists.

    So, in honor of my atheist friends to whom truth is more important than societal approval or existential comfort, I vote for Balthazar: who, whether or not he existed as a distinct historical individual, certainly exists as a potent figure in the Christian narrative imagination

    • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
      March 6, 2015 - 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Nicely, nicely said!

  145. Kelly Pulsifer's Gravatar Kelly Pulsifer
    March 6, 2015 - 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Sister Mary,
    I do indeed remember Shepherd’s Laundry. I likely knew the family, or of them, but do not recall them now. Small world, this Lenten Madness.

  146. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    March 6, 2015 - 8:56 pm | Permalink

    In Bethlehem, in the church of the Nativity, one of the artists back in the day put a mural of the Three Kings in Persian dress on a wall near the entry. When the Persians came into the Holy Land and plundered a lot of sacred relics, they walked into the Church of the Nativity and looked up at the painting of the wise men. Basically, they saluted, and turned and went away, leaving the church intact, out of respect for those men from their own land.

    We traveled to Koln (Cologne) Germany several years ago. The Cathedral there was built to house the silver and jewel-encrusted tombs of the Magi. Balthazar’s resting place is truly magnificent. Which tomb is his is unknown, of course.

  147. Liz's Gravatar Liz
    March 6, 2015 - 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Cecilia had me at ‘patron saint of singers and musicians.’ My mom (music teacher) instilled a love of music I cherish to this day. At 82 she is still playing the organ every Sunday at church.

  148. Anne Lemay's Gravatar Anne Lemay
    March 6, 2015 - 9:38 pm | Permalink

    This is a tough choice, but I am going to go with Balthazar because:
    a) My French-Canadian ancestry has always honored the creche
    b) When I first started going to an Episcopal church 25 years ago, my children and I were in a production of Amahl and the Night Visitors
    c) My husband of 14+ years was also in that production
    Balthazar it is!

    • Beverly's Gravatar Beverly
      March 6, 2015 - 10:43 pm | Permalink

      This was really tough, but I had to go with Balthazar. I can’t sing, but I love music, but I also love the idea of following a star. How terribly brave to just follow a star in the sky to wherever it leads you. Kind of like following your dream.

  149. Carol Riddick's Gravatar Carol Riddick
    March 6, 2015 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

    “Jesus Loves Me” Was my first public performance piece at the age of three in a very staid Presbyterian Church. I have been singing ever since. I had to vote for Cecilia.

  150. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    March 6, 2015 - 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Yet another hard choice to make. I have to travel tomorrow so I was leaning toward Balthazar, and as a sojourner, absolutely love the collect for Balthazar. So it was settled, until I read about Cecilia. And I am traveling to lead music for worship. How can you do this to us? Since I sing more than I travel, Cecilia gets my vote this evening. PS so glad you back, I was “so lost without you” this morning.

  151. March 6, 2015 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

    3.6.2015 [Cecelia]

    I sang in the streets
    and the mailman
    converted me
    to sing in the choir
    of men and boys.

    Cecelia’ sang out
    her praises of Jesus
    there from her prison
    she touches us

  152. Donnel Miller-Mutia's Gravatar Donnel Miller-Mutia
    March 6, 2015 - 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I love to sing and am an artist, and hence admire Cecilia a lot. But I pick Balthazar because I am drawn to the mystery of his life story; ie, we’re not certain who he really was apart from his background as African. I am attracted to the archetype of travel and journey, and going to new frontiers to search for wisdom. That image fits my spiritual path. Plus the collect in his behalf really sounded wonderful.

  153. Robin's Gravatar Robin
    March 6, 2015 - 10:26 pm | Permalink

    After the “journey” to get to the site today (link from e-mail obviously didn’t work, then got the “we’re baaaack” and kept trying to click on the Balthazar/ Cecelia e-mail link before realizing that wasn’t going to work and just had to type in the actual lent madness site), had to go with Balthazar.

  154. Karen's Gravatar Karen
    March 7, 2015 - 1:38 am | Permalink

    As a church musician, I felt honor-bound to cast my vote for St. Cecelia. Balthazar was sufficiently intriguing to keep my attention and he most definitely made me stop and think, and I realized just how woefully ignorant I am of Eastern Christianity.

    After pausing to reconsider my original plan, and after having the server flake out on me several times, I ultimately cast my vote for Cecelia.

    The SEC (and the server) certainly made this match harder than anticipated.

  155. March 7, 2015 - 3:13 am | Permalink

    It was Kaspar who enchanted Amahl with his wonderful box. Balthazar was the “sad dark king.” So glad to see others love this story, one of my favorites from forever. I also love the music and literature tidbits added by some responders–I now have a list of wonderful things to look up. Thanks! And go, Balthazar!

  156. Suzanne's Gravatar Suzanne
    March 7, 2015 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    It was a hard choice as one of my favorite plays/operas is Amahl and the Night Visitors but I grew up with music and that is my favorite form of praise so Cecilia got my vote.

  157. Dean's Gravatar Dean
    March 7, 2015 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    Definitely Balthazar.
    How could I not? Ever since the Epiphany “Blessing of the Chalk” the initials of the Magi have been chalked above my door: 20+C+M+B+15 (Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar)– or Christus mansionem benedicat, if you prefer (May Christ bless this house).

  158. Emily T's Gravatar Emily T
    March 7, 2015 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    Balthazar. I carry an irrational grudge against Cecilia, ever since my fiancee in Kindergarten left me and my public school to attend St. Cecilia Roman Catholic school (Houston) for first grade. Also, Blue Oyster Cult? Really?

  159. shawn's Gravatar shawn
    March 7, 2015 - 11:27 am | Permalink

    To continually stay on the path to Christ or to praise God in all circumstances?….hmmmm……really? We have to choose one? I guess I’ll go with Cecilia today. The fact that she lived as such a powerful example to baptize and convert others which resulted in such compassionate effects as well as her unshakable faith…..good stuff.

  160. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    March 7, 2015 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    Another no-brainer for a musician–and for a lot of other people, judging by the margin. The patron saint of music up against some apocryphal invention based on a few words in Matthew? Gimme something harder. (Well, in justice, a lot of them so far have been a lot harder.)

  161. anita's Gravatar anita
    March 7, 2015 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    Part of my celebration of Christmas each year is watching or reading “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson. The transformation of the Herdmans who were “the worst kids in the history of the world” through their participation in the local church’s Christmas pageant is hilarious, touching, and quite possibly very real. How many people who only come to church at Christmas to see the performance have been drawn in by the children in bathrobes and bedsheets and moved to return to church again? It may indeed have been Balthazar who brought the ham from the DSS for the baby Jesus!

  162. Daniel's Gravatar Daniel
    March 7, 2015 - 11:53 am | Permalink

    Cecelia is mothers name(god rest
    Her im all in!.also i would
    Love to see father scott dress up
    As her .

  163. StPatti's Gravatar StPatti
    March 7, 2015 - 12:34 pm | Permalink

    After several futile attempts, I delayed till this morning casting my vote, indeed a difficult decision after reading & rereading the bios. I was inclined toward Balthazar, as I have loved the epiphany story all my life. However, I knew little more of Cecilia than than that she is the patron of music. A beloved priest, Cecilia, with a gift of music, served at our parish & I learned about the saint. I visited her church while in Rome. Cecilia or Cicely gets my vote.

  164. Linda T.'s Gravatar Linda T.
    March 7, 2015 - 1:16 pm | Permalink

    As a member of the St.Cecilia girls’ choir at St. Paul’s, Akron, OH more than 50 years ago [yikes!], my vote was easy.

  165. Martin's Gravatar Martin
    March 7, 2015 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I vote for Balthazar because he was in one of my favorite bible stories. And I got to be a wise man in the Christmas play. (age 7)

    • Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
      March 7, 2015 - 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Good for you Martin! I’ll bet you were a fantastic Balthazar.
      I’ve missed hearing your comments lately.

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 7, 2015 - 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Good to hear from you again, Martin! You are indeed a wise man.

    • Martin's Gravatar Martin
      March 7, 2015 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

      What Martin really wanted to say was:
      I vote for Balthazar because he was in one of my favorite bible stories.
      (He asked that I not add the other part. I misunderstood. Please accept this as Martin’s real comment for today.)

      • Susan Maurine's Gravatar Susan Maurine
        March 7, 2015 - 5:40 pm | Permalink
  166. ceilr's Gravatar ceilr
    March 7, 2015 - 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I am SO sad not to have voted, but Cecelia won anyway. I was in Raton NM checking email on my iPad yesterday in the local McDonald’s when the error 404 page came up. Can you imagine gnashing of teeth in McDonald’s? And not over a hamburger? Well, Lent Madness has taken off. I wish I could get something like this going in my field. Oh, wait: I have an idea……!!

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