For the Golden Halo: Benedict the Moor vs. Absalom Jones

The end (of Lent Madness 2021) is near! It’s hard to believe we kicked things off over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday” with 32 saintly souls. With your help, the field has been whittled down to just two: Benedict the Moor and Absalom Jones. Who will receive the coveted 2021 Golden Halo? That, friends, is up to you.

This excellent video comes from the Cathedral of Saint James in South Bend, Indiana, makers of the awesome opening video for this year’s Lent Madness.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable holy people along the way. Perhaps you learned about some folks you’d never heard of before (lots of those this year!) or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ.

In the process of this whimsical Lenten devotion we’ve all made some new online friends, encountered a community of believers who take their faith but not themselves too seriously, learned some things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and hopefully had some fun along the way.

Of course we literally couldn’t have done this without our amazing Celebrity Bloggers to whom we offer sincere gratitude: Amber Belldene, Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, Anna Fitch Courie, David Creech, Miguel Escobar, Neva Rae Fox, David Hansen, Miriam McKenney, Carol Howard Merritt, Emily McFarlan Miller, and David Sibley. Thanks to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas for his stellar behind-the-scenes work in keeping the bracket updated daily. You all rock!

Thank you to Richelle Thompson and everyone at Forward Movement for putting up with our shenanigans and producing a terrific Saintly Scorecard this year. Special gratitude goes to Alyssa Finke for helping get words and images into the website each day.

Harriet Tubman prepares to pass off the Golden Halo to this year’s winner.

Finally, thanks to all of you who participated by voting, commenting, drinking coffee out of Lent Madness mugs, filling in brackets, talking about saints with friends, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter, and allowing us to play a small role in your Lenten journey. We’ve loved having each one of you along for the “madness” and on behalf of the Supreme Executive Committee we wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

Before we invite you to cast this final vote, we should note that David Hansen has ably shepherded Benedict the Moor through the bracket, while Miriam McKenney has done the same for Absalom Jones. We’ve asked them for a single image and one quote either by or about their saint. We’ve already heard a lot about Benedict and Absalom — click the Bracket tab and scroll down to view their previous match-ups if you want to refresh your memory. And then, it’s time to make your choice.

The polls will be open for 24 hours and the winner will be announced at 8:00 am Eastern time on Maundy Thursday. Now go cast your vote — the 2021 Lent Madness Golden Halo hangs in the balance!

Benedict the Moor




“I am a miserable sinner, and full of pride; pray God to make me humble.”

— Benedict of Palermo (aka the Moor)




Absalom Jones

“Let the first of January, the day of the abolition of the slave trade in our country, be set apart in every year, as a day of publick thanksgiving for that mercy. Let the history of the sufferings of our brethren, and of their deliverance, descend by this means to our children, to the remotest generations; and when they shall ask, in time to come, saying, What mean the lessons, the psalms, the prayers and the praises in the worship of this day? let us answer them, by saying, the Lord, on the day of which this is the anniversary, abolished the trade which dragged your fathers from their native country, and sold them as bondmen in the United States of America.”

— Absalom Jones, January 1, 1808 sermon celebrating the end of the slave trade

Benedict the Moor vs. Absalom Jones

  • Absalom Jones (67%, 4,278 Votes)
  • Benedict the Moor (33%, 2,143 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,421

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119 Comments to "For the Golden Halo: Benedict the Moor vs. Absalom Jones"

  1. Belle's Gravatar Belle
    March 31, 2021 - 8:10 am | Permalink

    During this Passover week, had to vote for Absalom Jones, who in today’s brief message reminds me of Moses. Best regards to all other voters and to the Lent Madness crew for the fellowship and great info.
    Love the little video. Well done, Cathedral of Saint James folks!

    • Jennifer Read's Gravatar Jennifer Read
      March 31, 2021 - 12:13 pm | Permalink

      The Pesach echo determined my vote, too.

  2. March 31, 2021 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Sorry Benedict, your a great person of faith, but I have to go with Absalom.

    • Linda S's Gravatar Linda S
      March 31, 2021 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Belle, I hope you receive notifications, because I’d love to hear you share more with us. How does Ab remind you of Moses?

      • Belle's Gravatar Belle
        April 1, 2021 - 8:58 am | Permalink

        Hi, I’m sorry Linda, I didn’t have notifications set up so didn’t see your message until now. Hope you get this followup.
        The overall answer is that the imagery of the Israelites being freed from bondage and led by Moses from slavery to freedom made a strong impression upon many enslaved people, particularly African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and/or black Christians (being as inclusive of preferences as I understand them, apologies if I’m deficient in this listing). The passage quoted reminded me both of the Passover seder accounts (which by tradition don’t include Moses’ name, to avoid idolizing him), and of Moses’ various teachings about handing the history and the commandments on to the children, emphasizing that the Israelites must remember being “slaves in the land of Egypt,” so as to treat the “stranger in your midst” as though they were neighbors, etc. The whole structure of the seder (which came after Moses’ time, whatever that really was — if it was — but mentioned or not, he’s the most remembered human in the story) was created for teaching purposes. The ritual of “the four questions,” always asked by the youngest present who are able to, and other rituals engage children and adults alike in remembering and telling the history, to give thanks to God and to let this memory of having been enslaved guide their actions.
        That’s a bit of it, as it felt to me. I hope it answers your question, to some extent. I’ll sign up for follow-up comments if you want to chat about it.

    • Mark W Oblick's Gravatar Mark W Oblick
      March 31, 2021 - 2:22 pm | Permalink

      I went with Benedict, because I know that he will lose. I’m just trying to make the vote closer.

      • Ed Totten's Gravatar Ed Totten
        March 31, 2021 - 3:58 pm | Permalink

        I feel the same way.

      • Teopa's Gravatar Teopa
        March 31, 2021 - 8:03 pm | Permalink

        yeah me too,
        I like a tight “race”

      • Amy L's Gravatar Amy L
        March 31, 2021 - 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Me, too.

      • Heather Coleman's Gravatar Heather Coleman
        March 31, 2021 - 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Me too. I always regret that the Lent Madness crowd always goes for Americans when they’re available. I think Absalom is extraordinary, but I have been touched by Benedict all along… and I also know that no saint has a chance against an American saint…

        • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
          March 31, 2021 - 11:09 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think that’s fair. There have been many non-American Golden Halo winners. But I would say that the Episcopal Church (as opposed to Anglican) is “American” (defined as the US), and the opportunity to vote for an Episcopal saint, especially given the throes that the US is currently undergoing with respect to coming to grips with a vicious legacy of slavery and white supremacy, is an enormous opportunity that many people don’t want to forego. I hope to see Medgar Evers win the Golden Halo one day, also James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and Jonathan Daniels. Ditto Oscar Romero, Julian of Norwich, and Blessed Syncletica (who might not be an actual historical person). “I know” is so often the prelude to an incorrect assertion. Benedict will return to the brackets.

          • Deborah in Beverly by the Sea's Gravatar Deborah in Beverly by the Sea
            March 31, 2021 - 11:23 pm | Permalink

            Well said, very good explanation. This is an extraordinary time in our country.

            St. Celia, I have enjoyed your insightful commentary throughout this season. As an aside, I must mention that I long ago named a cat Celia – after the Seal, the college yearbook I was editing.

  3. Edmund Pickup's Gravatar Edmund Pickup
    March 31, 2021 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Harriet Tubman followed by Absolom Jones. Can any other combination be more appropriate in our collective fight for racial equity? Does any other saintly sequence speak more eloquently to our need for repentance for white advantage? Yes, Lent Madness is lots of fun, but it is also deadly serious, bathed in the blood of the martyrs who have died as a result of systematic racial iniquity, and ever pressing toward God’s justice for us all.

    • simple village priest's Gravatar simple village priest
      March 31, 2021 - 8:29 am | Permalink


    • Vicar Mollie's Gravatar Vicar Mollie
      March 31, 2021 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Ed. You helped me decide.

      And thanks to the whole Lent Madness crew—I’ve been a fan for almost the entire run, proselytizing every year to bring others into the happy tent. Now for the Triduum and the Resurrection!

      • Linda Sylvester's Gravatar Linda Sylvester
        March 31, 2021 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

        I couldn’t look away from the pic of Benedict’s icon and his soulful quote. Brilliant! Meeting both Absolom and Benedict thru Lent Madness is truly a joy. I have come to love examining the lives of these exceptional people, looking for the unique expressions of the Spirit and invariably, something sparks for me. This season, it was the mention of Absolom’s “recovery” from his decades of enslavement. This resonates for me as I think of social enslavements to greed, racism, et al. And those personal enslavements to insecurity, sloth, gluttony, et al.
        Walking free from enslavements has a recovering season. I look forward to finding out more as I dig deeper into Ab’s story as I drink coffee from my new Lent Madness commemorative mug.
        Many thanks to all who worked to make my Lent special. Your the best.

    • Ann's Gravatar Ann
      March 31, 2021 - 8:37 am | Permalink

      Yes! Absalom for The Golden Halo! #GoAbsalom

    • Emily Clare Newby Correll's Gravatar Emily Clare Newby Correll
      March 31, 2021 - 8:42 am | Permalink

      And Benedict the Moor was also the son of African slaves. A great reminder that Christianity is not, even though some have tried to make it so, solely for privileged whites , but is for all peoples.

    • Roy Peterson's Gravatar Roy Peterson
      March 31, 2021 - 9:24 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Edmund, for that eloquent statement. Such true words.

    • Kathy O'Connor's Gravatar Kathy O'Connor
      March 31, 2021 - 11:04 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much to Edmund for your testament to Harriet Tubman and Absalom Jones, both key figures in the abolition of slavery in the United States. Although Lent Madness is lighthearted, I hope this acknowledgement says we are ready to get serious and do the work of justice-making.

    • Susan Boze's Gravatar Susan Boze
      March 31, 2021 - 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Amen, Ed

    • Susan Reaves's Gravatar Susan Reaves
      March 31, 2021 - 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for wise words!

    • Denese Edsall's Gravatar Denese Edsall
      March 31, 2021 - 5:55 pm | Permalink


    • diane's Gravatar diane
      March 31, 2021 - 7:10 pm | Permalink


    • Belle's Gravatar Belle
      April 1, 2021 - 8:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed, yes.

  4. Kandice Cann's Gravatar Kandice Cann
    March 31, 2021 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this wonderful Lenten devotion. My husband and I look forward to it every year. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. As is most often the case, as the field narrows the Golden Halo winner comes into focus. At a time when systemic racism, the Black Lives Matter movement are highlighted, both of these candidates are worthy of the halo this year. Our vote remains with Absalom. God bless you all during this most holy time and especially over the next three days of the Holy Triduum.

    • Bill Bruce's Gravatar Bill Bruce
      March 31, 2021 - 9:12 am | Permalink


  5. Myrline Winkler's Gravatar Myrline Winkler
    March 31, 2021 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the HEART of Lent Madness

    • James White's Gravatar James White
      March 31, 2021 - 11:51 am | Permalink

      Yes Myrline I would have to agree

  6. Bill Lewis's Gravatar Bill Lewis
    March 31, 2021 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Many thanks to the organizers, the bloggers and all who worked to make the Lenten Madness so much fun. I certainly appreciated the extra spins the bloggers added to each candidate profiles. Admittedly it would have been more fun if after the first round my choices weren’t rubbish but there is always next year. Well done all.

  7. Rita Pino Vargas's Gravatar Rita Pino Vargas
    March 31, 2021 - 8:30 am | Permalink


  8. Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
    March 31, 2021 - 8:30 am | Permalink

    Absalom has been my heart’s choice since the very beginning and I wrote this haiku-style campaign slogan for today.

    Shine Golden Halo
    For Liberty and Justice
    Vote Absalom Jones

    • Deborah of Beverly by the Sea's Gravatar Deborah of Beverly by the Sea
      March 31, 2021 - 9:18 am | Permalink

      My friends the Cabots are such a poetic family! I chose Absalom Jones from day one, too, Kate. I wonder how many others from our parish team did also? I never played Lent Madness before last year and my choice for the 2020 Golden Halo, Harriet Tubman, won.

      I agree with the comments of Kandice and Edmund above that our growing acknowledgement of systemic racism, realization that Black Lives Matter is not just a slogan. Desire for repentance and reparations has made us raise our fists and loudly cheer the legacies and courage of Harriet Tubman and Absalom Jones in fighting our shameful, cruel history of slavery (here in the “land of the free and home of the brave.”) Slavery is over, but racism continues – it has had a bold revival in some meeting tents.

      Go ABSALOM!

      • Kate Cabot's Gravatar Kate Cabot
        March 31, 2021 - 10:10 am | Permalink

        I think a few of us are Team Absalom! And I had to throw in some haiku once John had stopped his limericks for the season (he writes them when he has someone who is running from his bracket).

        I backed Harriet Tubman last year as well. I’ve actually been following Lent Madness since the very beginning and it has been wonderful to see it grow and to meet so many wonderful saints through the years.

        Go Absalom!

      • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
        April 1, 2021 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Deborah, I don’t know if you will see this. There was no more “reply” button to your post in this “Russian doll” embedded WordPress structure. I want to thank you for your kind words. I hope to see you here again next year. (The Seal seems to refer to New Jersey. Enjoy your Garden by the Sea!) I am sure your cat was both nice and beautiful!

        • Deborah by the Sea's Gravatar Deborah by the Sea
          April 1, 2021 - 2:26 pm | Permalink

          Hi St. Celia, I have been getting notifications of all comments on yesterday’s voting. You are a good investigator! The Seal was the Seal of NJ, or perhaps the college, then called Trenton State College (Trenton Suitcase College to students as many went home on weekends. The big night for the college pub was Thursday!) Celia was a nice cat, left with my parents as she had gotten used to a yard and wouldn’t have liked being in a studio apartment in Brooklyn. I had a succession of cats during my time in NYC: Gretl (character in a Isaac Bashevis Singer story, thus the Polish spelling). Then Hildegard (Hildy) for Hilegard of Bingen and the nightclub singer, Hansel (after Gretl died), Maggie, a girl of the streets (Stephen Crane’s first novel), Henri (I lived on Henry Street and Humphrey, an old stray Tom with a battered face I picked up. My Shakespearean actress friend said he looked like Humphrey Bogart. Years later, where we live now near the famous John Cabot, we adopted two young sister cats and named then Hermia and Helena. We rescued three feral kittens: Timmy (who was timid at first), Heidi who hid at first, and Toby who I used to sing to from Sweeney Todd: “Toby! No one’s going to harm you Toby!” He was very feral and ran off when he heard fireworks (which we’d not known were going to happen). He was found 10 miles north, hit by a car on the exit of a local highway. Now we have dogs and kept the names they came with – no literary references!

          I typed this stream of consciousness on my phone, so excuse any typos and lack of editing. And that it has NOTHING to do with Lent Madness, except you sharing a name with a long ago cat!

  9. Robyn's Gravatar Robyn
    March 31, 2021 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much Tim for starting Lend Madness and Scott for bringing it to all. I’ve followed you since the beginning and this Presby has learned so much. I do so enjoy the limericks, songs, videos, mugs and all you do. (Can’t wait for next year and to see what y’all come up with already!) The comments from adults or kiddos are so interesting to read each year. Thank you for the fresh ways we see Jesus in saints and in our selves in this season.

  10. Sandra (not the VC)'s Gravatar Sandra (not the VC)
    March 31, 2021 - 8:52 am | Permalink

    I have enjoyed Lent Madness over the past five years – the write-ups, the comments, the limericks, the haiku, and the community. I have also learned a lot. My thanks to those who prepare this feast each year and to all who sit at the table and share the fellowship. A blessed Triduum to all and may the joy of Eastertide be ours.

  11. Fiona's Gravatar Fiona
    March 31, 2021 - 8:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you to all involved. It’s been a joy to participate in Lent Madness again. I have learned so much and have been challenged and inspired. Two remarbable saints, each worthy of winning the golden halo.

  12. Amy Kulesa's Gravatar Amy Kulesa
    March 31, 2021 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    Both are worthy of the Golden Halo, but in this day and age of continuing racism and discrimination, I opted for the more contemporary saint. He witnesses to the continuing challenges in the United States for Justice & equality.

  13. simple village priest's Gravatar simple village priest
    March 31, 2021 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Interesting and timely Absalom Jones quote, as we in our Easter Vigil liturgies and our Jewish sisters and brothers around the Seder table celebrate Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt — and our ongoing deliverance from human sin, now while watching a trial in Minneapolis.
    Also, his call for a joyous yet solemn New Year’s Day remembrance of the end of the slave trade seems to parallel the New Year’s Eve Watch Night tradition commemorating the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
    Of course my vote goes
    to the Philadelphia Freedman —
    All his days he sought and taught
    the Truth that makes us all free.
    Back to work for me — thank to everyone for the learning, laughs, passion and joy of another Lent Madness journey!

  14. Suzanne Rogers's Gravatar Suzanne Rogers
    March 31, 2021 - 8:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you all!

  15. March 31, 2021 - 9:00 am | Permalink

    Beautiful quote from Absalom. Perhaps Benedict will win a halo in some future competition. It has certainly been a Happy Lent Madness! My gratitude and best wishes to all!

  16. Barbara Ross's Gravatar Barbara Ross
    March 31, 2021 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    I came into this final round certain that I would vote for Absalom Jones, but was swayed by the simplicity of Benedict’s quote. Also, I’m remembering the kindness of an African man who gave my husband and me his bus tickets in Palermo 25 years ago. The only place to buy tickets was closed for the long lunch hour and we would’ve been stranded. This was one of several times in my life when an angel has appeared in human form at just the right moment. (BTW, can you fix the the typo in Palermo – not Palmero).
    Many thanks to Scott, Tim, the celebrity bloggers and my fellow travelers who have made this year’s Lenten journey memorable. I’ve learned a lot and had fun along the way.

    • Ralph's Gravatar Ralph
      March 31, 2021 - 10:32 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Barbara,
      I must be a traditionalist, voting for Benedict, while also admiring Absalom.

    • Sara L's Gravatar Sara L
      March 31, 2021 - 11:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed, all of the Faithful Four have been more than worthy. At the start, I jotted down Benedict the African to go all the way, up against inspiring ‘adversaries’ all the way.
      Cheers to all the saints and all the voters.
      Go Benedict!!

  17. George Harwood's Gravatar George Harwood
    March 31, 2021 - 9:05 am | Permalink

    Go Absolom- Send us your blessings.A shout out to Philly.

    • Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
      March 31, 2021 - 3:40 pm | Permalink

      As a native Fluffyan, I went with Absalom and, by extension, his partner in working for justice, Richard Allen.

  18. Debbie Scott's Gravatar Debbie Scott
    March 31, 2021 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the joy of learning about this year’s saints! Absalom has my vote, but I have been inspired by all these saints.

  19. J. A. Reyes's Gravatar J. A. Reyes
    March 31, 2021 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    This is Absalom’s year!

  20. Paige Garrison's Gravatar Paige Garrison
    March 31, 2021 - 9:23 am | Permalink

    Thanks to all for your hard work and creativity! You’ve brought joy, fun and introspection to another fabulous Lenten Madness! I look forward to this each year! Ha! A new mug will be added to my collection to keep Harriet Tubman company!

  21. Jane Bucci's Gravatar Jane Bucci
    March 31, 2021 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Absalom Jones is my vote , sent with gratitude, light and light for absolutely everyone who has travelled this years Lenten Madness path with me. Blessings for the coming days, be safe, be well.

  22. Ellen L.'s Gravatar Ellen L.
    March 31, 2021 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    Dagnabbit! What a choice. I’m so confounded.

  23. P. Moore's Gravatar P. Moore
    March 31, 2021 - 9:40 am | Permalink

    Thanks for another great Lent. Whoever wins we prove the “message of the year”
    Black Lives Matter!

  24. Kathlyn Rooney's Gravatar Kathlyn Rooney
    March 31, 2021 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Absalom for me, but it’s been a year with some very difficult decisions. With all that we have been experiencing here in the US though he seemed like the right choice in 2021.

  25. Donice Gilliland's Gravatar Donice Gilliland
    March 31, 2021 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you for another wonderful and enlightening Lent Madness. I had to look hard for God’s “message” in some of the choices and found in others a clearly revealed path to the Halo. A wonderful journey. I would gladly see either Benedict or Absalom “win” but have to vote for Absalom. We are currently witnessing the trial resulting from a modern-day lynching of sorts unfold, and while I don’t feel optimistic about its outcome, I can certainly find strength and promise in the life of Absalom Jones.

  26. March 31, 2021 - 9:46 am | Permalink

    Both would be good choices. One from some time ago and one much more current. They, along with last year’s winner, Harriet Tubman, in the midst of all the hoopla of voter suppression going serve to remind us of the hatred in this world toward minorities and of how far we still have to go to truly live the lives of love Christ would have us live. I voted for each of these entries all through this season. In the end, I voted for this country’s Absalom as I think he would speak louder to this country right now. May God show mercy on us for the racism we still have, forgive us for our weaknesses, and spur us on with his love. Amen.

    • Kathy O'Connor's Gravatar Kathy O'Connor
      March 31, 2021 - 11:08 am | Permalink

      Excellently said, thank you!

  27. Debbie Buckalew's Gravatar Debbie Buckalew
    March 31, 2021 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Both Absalom and Benedict deserve the halo, but my heart has been with Absalom from the beginning.

    This was my first time participating in Lent Madness and it has been a profound journey through deep contemplation, personal reflection, and a renewal of my commitment to my faith. I have learned so much (I love to go down internet rabbit holes researching anything and everything and getting lost for hours!), and I have been so often emotionally moved by the stories of these saints, as well as stories and perspectives in the comment section. It has also been so much fun!

    Wishing each of you a joyful Easter!

    • Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
      March 31, 2021 - 10:47 am | Permalink

      I am so glad you came for the Madness this year!

  28. Chris's Gravatar Chris
    March 31, 2021 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks for taking us on a wonderful journey during this Lenten season. The work of the SEC and Celebrity Bloggers is greatly appreciated. (Absalom was my choice from the beginning.)

  29. Linda Cook MacDonald's Gravatar Linda Cook MacDonald
    March 31, 2021 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you for a great Lenten journey with saints known and unknown. I am new to this fun process of learning and reflection, and I look forward to it each Lent. Absalom Jones gets my final vote. As someone else wrote, reading the quote from a sermon Moses definitely came to mind.

  30. Peggy Nelson's Gravatar Peggy Nelson
    March 31, 2021 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    During Lent I have been participating in “Sacred Ground”….the section on the slave
    trade and the video of the only door leaving Africa directly onto the slave ships
    was so impactful….while I appreciate Benedict, my vote today went to Absalom
    Jones. Thank you all, Bloggers and Tim and Scott who are referred to affectionately
    ( of course) in our house as The Boys for your hard work and generous hearts.

  31. Susan R's Gravatar Susan R
    March 31, 2021 - 10:09 am | Permalink

    Thank you Tim, Scott, faithful bloggers and all. What a wonderful, and as always, enlightening season. Blessings all!

  32. Yvonne's Gravatar Yvonne
    March 31, 2021 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    Go Absalom, who will surely win. But I was so moved by that simple quote and prayer for humility, that I clicked for Benedict. Thank you, all. Lent Madness brings me so much joy.
    Until next Ash Thursday…

  33. March 31, 2021 - 10:11 am | Permalink

    (to the tune of “In Christ There Is No East or West”)
    Every year Lent Madness calls us down
    Of saints to learn and inquire
    Whether beloved or unknown
    They teach, challenge, and inspire.

    And now we have Absalom Jones
    And Benedict the Moor.
    I don’t know if I can vote today,
    Can’t decide who I like more.

    So goodbye, Lent Madness, for this year
    Our time’s come to an end.
    To all of you, both far and near,
    I’m proud to call you friend.

    I ended up voting for Benedict to give him some support, since I’m pretty sure Absalom will win. Thanks to the bloggers for their masterful writing and thanks to all of you. I haven’t posted many comments but I enjoy reading them all. They bring a different perspective and often additional knowledge and enrichment, both of which I find extremely valuable.

    I recently started a blog ( and I hope you will visit and help me improve it with your comments and suggestions. Many blessings to all of you, and a joyous Easter!

    • Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
      March 31, 2021 - 11:41 am | Permalink

      love your song — thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
      March 31, 2021 - 11:43 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Grace, for your wonderful lyrics for a hymn I have long loved. And how fitting a tune for this final round, and for these strange and painful months!

  34. Anne Madden's Gravatar Anne Madden
    March 31, 2021 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    So glad about this gathering and so sad its over til next year! How I enjoy reading all your comments and knowing I am part of such a great cloud of witnesses. And also so proud of my hometown St. James artists – and of course their Mayor Pete…;)

  35. Tiffany's Gravatar Tiffany
    March 31, 2021 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    Thank you to everyone who brought us this year’s Lent Madness, and to the commenters who enriched the decision-making each day.

    I’m going with Absalom Jones because he pointed out injustices and urged a transformation of society. Benedict was intriguing with his magical cooking and seemed very devout and worthy, but Absalom Jones reminds me more of Jesus, as I think on it today. Fishing for people, standing up for those looked down upon, trying to make this world a better example of God’s kingdom.

  36. Donald MacLeod's Gravatar Donald MacLeod
    March 31, 2021 - 10:41 am | Permalink

    Since the beginning of the church each Lent has taken us on a journey, from hope in the waving of palms to coming through despair to recognize how Jesus gave his life for all to the joy of resurrection, realizing that he offers us eternal life. This year our lenten journey comes out of a year and more of pandemic and turmoil. It is right and fitting that our exchanges come to a focus on the lives of two black saints. We have come through the pain and outrage of recognizing how black deaths matter to, I hope, a greater recognition of how black lives matter to us all, to those who have been oppressed and to those who come through a history of oppression. In examining the lives of two black saints we may give more attention to the more recent, not to suggest that his contribution was greater. It can help us to see that this journey is continuing and that we recognize more and more how black saints today are giving to the church and to the glory of God in Christ Jesus.

  37. JoJo's Gravatar JoJo
    March 31, 2021 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    A Lent like no other draws to a close, the Golden Halo is nigh. Our Bracket this year was a very timely one, (kudos to those creators & bloggers) both finalists are a tribute to our state of affairs. Absalom Jones gets my final vote for the CFRH in Atlanta & our Episcopal Diocese of NC efforts to become The Beloved Community by dismantling racism on the Journey to Racial Equity. Both have excellent webinars that discuss systemic racism & discrimination. Final Answer: Absalom Jones for his ability to Forgive. Happy Easter, Everyone

  38. Kitty's Gravatar Kitty
    March 31, 2021 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all your work and fun learning about the saints. I know Absalom will win and this is his year but I’m voting with my heart for Benedict of Palermo. I have a soft spot for his humility, simplicity and also his cooking.

  39. A Jennifer's Gravatar A Jennifer
    March 31, 2021 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    …but mostly his peg doll Peg dolls are the best. Thank you Cathedral of St. James. I think Absalom should win but he is far enough ahead that I can happily cast a vote for Benedict today.

  40. Rene Jamieson's Gravatar Rene Jamieson
    March 31, 2021 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    The Golden Halo would look well on either Absalom or Benedict, but in light of the current state of affairs in the United States, with white supremacists flaunting their nastiness, and black people being arrested and/or killed for the crime of being black, my heart and my vote go to Absalom. The latest violations of human rights in Georgia and in Arkansas fill me with immense sadness. So Absalom it is for me, and for the Golden Halo.

    On a personal note, thank you for this, my fourth Lent Madness. I look forward to next year.

  41. Carol Buckalew's Gravatar Carol Buckalew
    March 31, 2021 - 11:00 am | Permalink

    Thank you to Tim and Scott, to each of the Celebrity Bloggers, to all behind the scenes, and to all who commented. Lent Madness enriches the Lenten journey every year. I learn anew that there are many paths to God, indeed any path can lead to God, no matter how circuitous. Keep on walking. See you next Lent.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 31, 2021 - 11:22 am | Permalink

      Yes ma’am! “Any path can lead to God… Keep on walking.” You said it all. For the first time I am voting my bracket in the final round—that is, I’m going with Absalom. Virtual hugs sent round to you all, thanks to everyone who made this contest a reality, and prayers for a safe year ahead. It’s been real, it’s been fun, it’s been real fun!

  42. tully monster's Gravatar tully monster
    March 31, 2021 - 11:02 am | Permalink

    Absalom FTW!

  43. Rosanne's Gravatar Rosanne
    March 31, 2021 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    I know the colors and traditions of the Golden Halo mug are probably sacrosanct, but should Blessed Absalom prevail, can we sub contract for a Golden Halo mug-UBE edition? It could be a fund raiser. We have a number of UBE youth entities that are good that sort of thing. I love this outcome as much as it remains difficult to choose. UBE folks also big fans of Benedict the Moor. No-one said Lenten decisions should be spiritually easy!

  44. March 31, 2021 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    This has been my first Lent Madness, but it will not be my last, I hope. I came into this sure that Absalom Jones would win the Golden Halo, but ended up voting for Benedict at the end. His heart for healing and nurturing captured me. Palermo opened her arms to him all those years ago, and I can’t help but think that his life helped to carry that spirit forward. Thanks to all of you for this experience!

  45. Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
    March 31, 2021 - 11:15 am | Permalink

    Happy Spy Wednesday!

  46. Mary Beth Burns's Gravatar Mary Beth Burns
    March 31, 2021 - 11:16 am | Permalink

    In the second Lent of the pandemic, I didn’t follow Lent Madness as closely as in some other years, so
    when I read all the wrap-ups, I felt sad as well as grateful – But gratitude now dominates, to the wonderful people who put it all together, with faith and humor, the community they formed, and, as a
    shout-out to my personal past, to the nuns who taught me, several of whom marched at Selma – they
    gave me a heritage of faith that is, sadly, still necessary –

  47. Jennifer Deegan's Gravatar Jennifer Deegan
    March 31, 2021 - 11:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much to all who work to make Lent Madness such an engaging learning and deeply spiritual experience.

  48. Thea Joy Browne, n/SSG, Ph.D. (The Rev'd)'s Gravatar Thea Joy Browne, n/SSG, Ph.D. (The Rev'd)
    March 31, 2021 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    The Diocese of Pennsylvania kept Absalom Jones in the transitional diaconate for almost 10 years before ordaining him to the priesthood, and his bishop ordained him only on condition that he and his Black parish would be totally disenfranchised. Not only were they refused voice and vote in their diocesan Convention, they weren’t allowed even to participate. Fr. Jones was dead nearly 50 years before St. Thomas African Episcopal Church was fully admitted to Convention in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. I’d certainly say that he’s earned that Golden Halo . . .

  49. Verdery Kassebaum's Gravatar Verdery Kassebaum
    March 31, 2021 - 11:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Scott, Tim, bloggers, behind-the-scenes folks, commentators! Once again you all have introduced (or in some cases re-introduced) us to some amazing people from the earliest days of Christianity down to the 20th century. Some friends introduced me to Lent Madness back in 2013 (before the Saintly Scorecard) and I’ve been hooked ever since.
    May you all have a blessed Holy Week and Easter. We’ll meet again next Ash Thursday, if not before.

  50. Barbara Brooks's Gravatar Barbara Brooks
    March 31, 2021 - 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to all: Scott, Tim, eloquent bloggers, fellow Madcaps. Hang in there, keep your hearts open, “Endure, and preserve yourself for better things.” Cicero

  51. Kathy in Nicaragua's Gravatar Kathy in Nicaragua
    March 31, 2021 - 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I was quite sure Absalom would win, and I fully intended to vote for him (although I have been supporting both candidates throughout Lent). However, the image and quote today for Benedict earned him my vote. Outstanding choices.

  52. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 31, 2021 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, SEC and bloggers. David Hansen found a stunning final image for Benedict. I did not know that January 1 was the anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the US. I’m guessing that refers to the importation of new slaves; it certainly did not abolish slavery in the US. And I can only imagine the loopholes. I voted for Absalom Jones, the homeboy, an Episcopal priest. I cannot bring myself to vote for a mummy, and I have warrant for that from the SEC itself. A couple of years ago they stated publicly that the mummy of God would never be on any bracket. Besides, the Capuchin monks of Palermo, with their crypt filled with the lifelike dead is nothing compared to the crypt of the U.S. senate, filled with ancient white cadavers perpetually on display on their thrones with one function only: to prevent democracy from ever happening and to keep us all bondmen to voter suppression, the rabid raging of white supremacy, and the scourge of uncontrolled gun ownership and gunslaughter. There is so much work to be done. We have entered the gates of Canterbury, friends. As we step into the Triduum, let us keep the faith and keep walking.

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 31, 2021 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never heard of Capitol Hill as being like a crypt, but now that ya mention it…

  53. Ronnie Warren's Gravatar Ronnie Warren
    March 31, 2021 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to all the inspired lunatics who make my Lent bearable every year. And to those who’ve written comments: your perspectives have enlightened me. Absalom for the win; Jesus for the world.

  54. Sally from the Fig's Gravatar Sally from the Fig
    March 31, 2021 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    We’ve loved Miriam’s presentations of Absalom Jones over the past several weeks! Absalom Jones was my choice for the Golden Halo from the moment I saw the bracket, as he’s been one of my favorite saints for many years. There’s joy in Dallas at the Church of the Transfiguration! Thank you, Tim and Scott, for one of the best Lent Madness experiences in years. Who would have thought? We didn’t know half of the saints. And yet it was a “pandemic” relieving joy to get to know all of them. Happy Easter to the world!

  55. St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
    March 31, 2021 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Ever since Anna Fitch Courie brilliantly included a recipe for a Yellow Fever cocktail in the 2016 kitsch round on behalf of the Memphis Martyrs, I have felt that Lent Madness wasn’t complete without a cocktail recipe. I thought of posting a Purgatory cocktail to celebrate David Hansen’s gambit on behalf of Catherine of Genoa in this year’s kitsch round, but some might view eternity in Colorado on the ski slopes as heaven and no sort of penance at all. There’s also a Dead Rabbit cocktail, but that might not sit well with Melangell. Never fear! There is a cocktail called The Mummy. It is 1 oz. triple sec, 2 oz. vodka, 1Tbsp lemon juice; float club soda over the top. Serve in an old-fashioned glass (preferably chilled in a crypt). This might revivify a corpse, as one reviewer says it’s “like alka seltzer with alcohol.” And since we are bidden to offer non-alcoholic alternatives, “served equally attractively,” there’s the virgin mojito (“mummito”?): muddle mint leaves with sugar, then pour the juice of about eight limes over that. Add extra simple sugar if necessary to sweeten. Float club soda over the top. Serve over ice in an old fashioned glass. Enjoy the spires of Canterbury and think on the tomb of Thomas a Becket.

    • Isabelle's Gravatar Isabelle
      March 31, 2021 - 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I’ll drink to that! Seriously, though, it’s always a pleasure to read the comments and the all the fascinating tidbits about the saints each year! We are grateful to have the SEC and celebrity bloggers, and all of you commenters participating! What a way to transcend these twin pandemics of coronavirus and racism. Happy Easter, and Love and Peace to all!

    • Susan Lee Hauser's Gravatar Susan Lee Hauser
      March 31, 2021 - 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Ah, St. C, you never disappoint!

  56. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    March 31, 2021 - 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all. This was my first experience with Lent Madness, and I have looked forward every morning to opening the email with the day’s new saintly competitors. You have enriched my Lenten experience, and now I can’t wait for next year! Today’s choice was difficult, but I went with Absalom. Both are deserving of a Golden Halo.

  57. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    March 31, 2021 - 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Since Benedict’s quote is a prayer for humility, I do not think being awarded a golden halo would help answer Benedict’s prayer, therefore I voted for Absalom.

  58. March 31, 2021 - 2:29 pm | Permalink

    What struck me today was that we have the choice between two persons of African ancestors. We also have a choice between an American and one who is not. Reading the comments I can’t help but notice how American-centric they seem to be. So I have decided to vote for Benedict for the world, since, after all, saints should be for the whole church.

    • Thea Joy Browne, n/SSG, Ph.D. (The Rev'd)'s Gravatar Thea Joy Browne, n/SSG, Ph.D. (The Rev'd)
      March 31, 2021 - 6:10 pm | Permalink

      I am intrigued by the claim that what Absalom Jones suffered was “not for the whole church.”

      After his bishop refused to ordain him unless he agreed to have neither voice nor vote in Church governance, he served Christ faithfully. He persisted in proclaiming the Gospel even when he and his parishioners were barred from participation in Convention in his own denomination. He continued to build up the faithful even when his basic humanity was held in question by his own colleagues in the clergy, and he did not live to see his parish acknowledged by the Church that he loved. He was dead nearly 50 years before his parish was fully admitted into the life of the Church in his local diocese– because it was full of Black people, and for no other reason. And all this is what it took to establish the first parish in the denomination where people of African descent could expect to receive a warm welcome.

      The many indignities that Fr. Jones experienced are part of the historical legacy inherited by clergy of African heritage in the States. We certainly would not claim that that his sacrifice was of less value simply because it took place in the City of Brotherly Love. For the entirety of his ordained life, he persevered in suffering, in the name of Jesus and in the hope of easing the path for those of us who would follow him–both in the Faith and in service to the Church. Your comment reminds us that even today, people in the church undermine the value of his life and witness.

      Absalom Jones became a saint by building up the Church among people that the Church abused and excluded–even as it abused and excluded him. From where I sit, this hardly disqualifies him from inclusion in the communion of “saints for the whole church.” In fact, I’d say that the strength of his witness only highlights the appropriateness of his placement in this final leg of our Lenten Madness. So ride on to victory, Fr. Jones! We remember and salute you!

  59. Frances Cox's Gravatar Frances Cox
    March 31, 2021 - 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Somehow I stumbled upon this madness
    and for the first time since
    I will not have voted for the winner even once.
    I have nothing against Absolam,
    but I must vote for Benedict as I have voted for him in every round.
    And so this year I conclude with saddness.

    Ah, Well. Next year on the web!

  60. Mary Kephart's Gravatar Mary Kephart
    March 31, 2021 - 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for another wonderful year of Lent Madness!

  61. Spyridon the Thaumaturge's Gravatar Spyridon the Thaumaturge
    March 31, 2021 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

    William Faulkner casts two votes. If you haven’t read “Absalom! Absalom!” you should. As Lent Madness is doing with a final Black-on-Black competition, Faulkner was trying to do with his craft: extirpating, excising, and exorcising the demons of slavery and racial inequality. The efforts are puny, of course, but worthwhile.

  62. Christine Parkhurst's Gravatar Christine Parkhurst
    March 31, 2021 - 3:07 pm | Permalink

    As a resident of Philadelphia, I have to vote for Absalom Jones. St Peter’s Episcopal Church, where so many slave-owning Founding Fathers worshiped, is only a few blocks from Mother Bethel Church, founded by Absalom Jones and Rev. Richard Allen. I worship at St Peter’s but often walk past Mother Bethel, and think about the amazing and inspired effort it took to establish Mother Bethel, a foundation of the Black Church in America.

  63. Susan from Westford's Gravatar Susan from Westford
    March 31, 2021 - 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Had to deeply reflect before voting. Thank you for this practice.

    During this time of overcoming so many things I voted for Absolom’s “Overcomer” message. Together we rise, vanquish wrongs and are deeply thankful for the overcoming of this present moment which is unacceptable in so many ways. May it soom become a past we are grateful to have overcome, prayers for a better tomorrow.

    Benedict’s example as a beacom of humility and persistence touched me deeply also. I could see him being the guy holding space and prayer or at everyone at the hospital and at immigration and deportation sites.

  64. Laura Schick's Gravatar Laura Schick
    March 31, 2021 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational Lent Madness 2021. God Bless all of you with a Holy Easter Season and a Happy Healthy New Church Year

  65. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 31, 2021 - 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to the whole Lent Madness crew – a little blue that I have to wait another whole year for the next one! :D. All the best to all the rest of you this Holy Week, and may a joyful Easter be yours!

  66. March 31, 2021 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Lent Madness inspires, uplifts, and educates us all! I join this great cloud of witnesses with many thanks and prayers for the gift of Tim, Scott, and the amazing bloggers. Holy Week blessings and Easter joy!

  67. Laura Graf's Gravatar Laura Graf
    March 31, 2021 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t participated in Lent Madness every year since first learning of it, and I didn’t remember to vote each day this year, though I typically read the canidate bios for the days I missed. I appreciate the insights Tim, Scott, the bloggers, and other participants provided, not just about the saintly contenders, but also the relevance of their journeys for us today.

    Lent Madness makes me wish Lent were longer!

  68. Cap'n Black the Pyrate's Gravatar Cap'n Black the Pyrate
    March 31, 2021 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Ahoy mateys! Me and my hale crew are fixin to weigh anchor, hoist sail and chart our next course. It has been a wonderful shore leave, and we thank all the hands that weave this magic Madness. Lots of big words used, lots of new things to learn – it will keep us til next we meet again! Clear sailing be your lot and may the Creator hold you close to the wind! Peace be with you!

  69. Meredith Hales's Gravatar Meredith Hales
    March 31, 2021 - 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you SEC and bloggers for another interesting and fun Lent Madness. Learned about some new saints and I always enjoy the comments. May you all have a blessed Holy Week and a glorious Easter!

  70. Karla Edwards's Gravatar Karla Edwards
    March 31, 2021 - 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to all who make Lent Madness what it is. This is my first season and it has been truly enlightening. I have enjoyed having it as a part of my Lenten devotion. Learning about the lives of all this year’s saints has been very impactful. I am appreciative. Easter blessings to all.

  71. Wendy Webster Coakley's Gravatar Wendy Webster Coakley
    March 31, 2021 - 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I feel so blessed that my 23-year-old son has joined me in this Lenten devotion from his first real-world job and apartment in a new city. It’s been a great way to bond across the miles during this still-scary time in our history. Thank you all!

  72. Judith S Mack's Gravatar Judith S Mack
    March 31, 2021 - 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for another exceptional Season of Saints. It is hard to create something that is interesting, fun and informative at the same time. You two have succeeded admirably.

  73. Thomas Noble chapman's Gravatar Thomas Noble chapman
    March 31, 2021 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

    I thought Absolom Jones had won his halo! Oh well! Enjoy yr Easter wherever y’all may be!!!!!!!

  74. Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
    March 31, 2021 - 6:21 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Benedict because I need humility but I respect the work of Absalom in helping make our country a just and inclusive society that lives up to our ideals. With deep thanks to the SEC, the Celebrity Bloggers and to all the staff in folks who make the Madness possible. And thanks to everyone who commented this year and provided additional insights and perspectives. Wishing you all a blessed Triduum and a glorious Easter. See you next year!

  75. Sylvia Miller-Mutia's Gravatar Sylvia Miller-Mutia
    March 31, 2021 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Always enduring. Through the grace of God and
    Because of our work
    Slavery ended.
    And yet the work of
    Liberation continues. Life
    Miracles abounding.

    (Friends and Members of St. Mark’s ABQ in honor of Absalom Jones and with prayers for George Floyd and family)

  76. Barbara Gay's Gravatar Barbara Gay
    March 31, 2021 - 8:57 pm | Permalink

    The Madness is one of the things that gets me through my least favorite time of year, post-Christmas, end of winter blah. This has been an interesting Madness, with a lot of saints I was unfamiliar with. Will miss reading everyone’s comments, which often make me see my choices in different ways. Everyone have a blessed Easter and a good rest of 2021. As so many have said, I just had to go with Absalom today in view of the ongoing fight for racial justice.

  77. Shelly's Gravatar Shelly
    March 31, 2021 - 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I’ve enjoyed Lent Madness for several years, but I have especially appreciated it during these last two years. The write-ups are interesting, but I especially enjoy the comments every day. Thank you to everyone who makes comments, either deeply spiritual or casually light-hearted. I am sad to see this year’s Madness end, and certainly hope it will continue next year!

  78. Gaen M.'s Gravatar Gaen M.
    March 31, 2021 - 11:35 pm | Permalink

    What a journey we’ve all walked together this year. It’s been a real blessing to read about and reflect on our saintly contestants and to read the comments and feel how many hands are clasped together in prayer and witness as we strive to follow Jesus. I voted for Absalom because we still need his leadership. Monday morning my husband and I watched part of the opening of Derek Chauvin’s trial, including the last nine minutes of George Floyd’s life. Help us to change, Lord Jesus. Help us heal those we’ve hurt, heal ourselves, and heal our land.

    • St. Celia's Gravatar St. Celia
      April 1, 2021 - 12:03 am | Permalink

      Thank you so much, Gaen, for all your comments. Yes, may this nation and this land have healing (which entails looking at the past, taking responsibility, and enacting reparations where possible and where appropriate).

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