Dorcas vs. Frederick Douglass

Occasionally the SEC adds matchups based on little more than (deeply prayerful) whim. This isn’t such a case, mind you, but we do sometimes get jazzed by things like alliteration. Thus, today it’s Dorcas vs. Douglass. That has a certain saintly ring to it, don’t you think? The winner faces Juan Diego in the Saintly Sixteen.

Yesterday, Cuthbert sent the Venerable Bede packing with a veritable Bede-down of his medieval contemporary, 63% to 37%. He’ll next square off against Molly Brant.

Don’t forget that our Bracket Czar updates the online Bracket each day. Scroll down to see the corresponding Matchup Calendar and learn the precise date when your favorite saint will be locking horns (not that saints have horns) with his or her next saintly rival.

After today’s competition, we will be exactly halfway through the first round. Remember, no voting takes place over the weekend so the next matchup will be Francis of Assisi vs. John Wycliffe on Monday morning. Now go vote!

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Bede vs. Cuthbert

Sure, almost everything we know about Cuthbert, we learned through the writings of Bede. Had Bede known that he would one day square off against Cuthbert in the saintly smackdown, perhaps he would have written a different tune? Nonetheless, these two face one another in a rare battle of contemporaries. The winner will go up against Molly Brant.

Yesterday we saw one of the greatest routs in Lent Madness history with Kamehameha spanking William Laud 84% to 16%. He’ll go on to face David Oakerhater in the Round of the Saintly Sixteen.

Speaking of routs, our bracketologists did a bit of digging to unearth where Kamehameha’s victory ranked among the annals of Lent Madness blowouts. In 2013 Florence Li-Tim Oi, the first woman ordained in the Anglican Communion, defeated Chad of Lichfield by the same percentage, 84% to 16%. Talk about your hanging Chad…

But the greatest blowout in Lent Madness history, percentage-wise, came in the very first year this devotional started. In 2010, Francis of Assisi defeated Aelred of Riveaulx 87% to 13% in the Elate Eight. For the record, Francis lost to Julian of Norwich in the Faithful Four that year and is now back in the bracket for the first time since.

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William Laud vs. Kamehameha

Ah, a battle between an Archbishop of Canterbury and a king. That seems rather familiar. But the real question is, which island will emerge victorious in this matchup between William Laud and Kamehameha? England or Hawaii? Whoever it is, the winner will advance to face David Oakerhater in the next round.

Yesterday’s battle between Thecla and John Keble led to some respectfully passionate debate in the comment section. In fact, we set a record for most comments in a first round pairing with over 300. Impressive! In the end, Thecla prevailed 58% to 42% meaning we’ll be hearing more about those ravenous seals in the Saintly Sixteen when she squares off against Brendan the Navigator.

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John Keble vs. Thecla

Today we experience something of a time warp, traveling from the 19th century back to the days of the early church. We encounter John Keble — priest, poet, academic, and major player in the revival of the Church of England and Thecla — companion of the apostle Paul and passionate pursuer of holiness.

In yesterday’s saintly action, Juan Diego advanced to the Saintly Sixteen with a 57% to 43% victory over Hadewijch. He’ll face the winner of Dorcas vs. Frederick Douglass. 

As an aside, we’ve been delighted to see the number of comments that come in throughout the 24 hours each matchup is open. They are a wonderful blend of thoughtful and gracious and educational and inspirational — basically the opposite of nearly every other online forum!

And in case you missed yesterday’s episode of Monday Madness, it included a verifiable miracle involving a corporeal Golden Halo. Not that Tim and Scott are angling to make it into the 2089 bracket or anything…

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Monday Madness — February 23, 2015

In this week’s episode of Monday Madness, Tim and Scott display a real Golden Halo miracle! You’ll also get to hear their advice for people who are worked up about Lent Madness, but not in a good way. Perhaps you’ll take what Scott and Tim say to heart and put it on a cross-stitch or one of those heart-warming motivational posters with a sunset in the background.

Sure, nothing on LentMadnessTV has ever won an Oscar, but that’s just because our high production values would make Hollywood’s efforts look puny by comparison. After all, have they ever captured an actual miracle on film?

If you’re intrigued by the idea of wearing a purple Lent Madness T-Shirt, you can acquire your very own for fifteen bucks. Same deal for the Golden Halo Flying Disc, which can be yours for the bargain price of just three bucks.

Hadewijch vs. Juan Diego

As Lent Madness voting resumes for the week, we encounter Hadewijch and Juan Diego, two outsiders in their own unique ways. In case you’re wondering about the pronunciation, Hadewijch rhymes with hate-a-witch (if you’re either a Wiccan or from Salem, Massachusetts, please don’t get offended). 

In the only Saturday match-up of Lent Madness 2015, Molly Brant sent Swithun back to the proverbial swamp 58% to 42%. Molly will face the winner of Bede vs. Cuthbert in the Saintly Sixteen.

 Yesterday, in case you missed it (and if you did, you should sign up on the home page to receive e-mails every time we post something), we shared some resources to supplement your Lenten journey. We’ve invited folks to add others in the comment section, not because we don’t have all the answers but because we’re lazy. So check out what we’re calling “Lent beyond the Madness” and feel free to add to the list.

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Lent Beyond the Madness

This morning at 8 a.m., we learned that Molly Brant had defeated Swithun to earn a spot in the Saintly Sixteen. This will be the only Sunday morning voting result of Lent Madness 2015. For many Lent Madness fans, today will be hard, because this is the first day in Lent without any voting. People will be twiddling their thumbs, constantly refreshing their web browsers, or scouring their homes for something purple. This unsettled feeling is familiar to veterans here, and it’s called Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW). This one day won’t be so bad, but future weekends will involve two days without voting. So to help with LMW, and even more important, to suggest some other ways to engage Lenten practices, we thought we’d share a few ideas.

lentAlthough the Supreme Executive Committee commends Lent Madness to every man, woman, child, dog, and ferret, we also acknowledge that the saintly smackdown is only part of a well-rounded diet of Lenten discipline. As we wrote on Ash Wednesday, “This Lenten season, we invite you to draw closer to our Lord Jesus. Give up those things which keep you away from Jesus. Take on those things that bring you closer to Jesus.”

Here are a few ideas for Lenten practices that might bring you closer to Jesus.

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Top Ten Lent Madness Pro Tips

Lent Madness 2015 is off to a great start. On opening day, Ash Thursday, we broke our previous record for page views and votes. Competition has been fierce, while the comments have been (mostly) gentle. That’s just how we like it. Because the SEC cares about you, the Lent Madness Global Viewing Public, we wanted to offer a few pro tips to maximize your enjoyment and learning from Lent Madness.

But first, if you haven’t yet voted in today’s match-up between Swithun and Molly Brant, vote right now.


10. Lobby celebrities for endorsements
Let’s face it. If you could get, say, Pope Francis to urge people to vote for your favorite saint, that would garner lots of votes. This is how to win — rally others to vote for your saint. If you can’t get the pope, try your neighbors, your priest, your local police chief, or your local news anchor. Here is Pope Francis showing his potential as a spokesperson, as he wears purple and possibly talks up his favorite saints.
Pope in Purple

9. Read up on the saints
If you were one of the lucky ones who scored a limited-edition Saintly Scorecard booklet, use it to read the bios and prayers for the saints. You can also get the Saintly Scorecard as an ebook. While the ebook doesn’t include a fold-out bracket, you can add a fold-out bracket to your Kindle for maximum enjoyment. Jennifer Roland offers the paragon of digital-analog Lent Madness fandom, with her e-reader adorned by a homemade fold-out bracket.
kindle with bracket

8. Vote one time only
Those who vote more than once are liable to be cast into the outer darkness of Lent Madness. We want free and fair match-ups. Voting 300 times because you really want your saint to win is going to get you banned, and that’s just no fun.

7. Make Lent Madness ubiquitous in your parish
St. Paul’s Church in Rochester, NY has placed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR giant bracket posters around the church to tally the results. The posters are all sold out, so you have a couple of choices. You can print out regular-sized brackets (for free!) and issue magnifying glasses so they look big. Or you can find a bracket poster and use a massive photocopier to duplicate the number you need.
St. Paul's Rochester, NY

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Swithun vs. Molly Brant

“Wait, St. Swithun was a real person?” We get that a lot. “Wait, Molly Brant was a real person?” We never get that. Nonetheless, welcome to the first and only Saturday match-up of Lent Madness 2015. Go ahead, sleep late and dally over your coffee while you read about these two saintly souls. But don’t get used to it: after today’s battle, voting will return bright and early on Monday morning with Hadewijch facing off against Juan Diego.

In yesterday’s action, David Oakerhater stunned Teresa of Avila in the first major upset of the season. In heavy voting (another day, another record total), David scored 60% of the vote to Teresa’s 40% and will go on to face the winner of William Laud vs. King Kamehameha in the Saintly Sixteen.

Yes, folks, it’s called Lent Madness for a reason. If your bracket is busted, you’re not alone. But stick around — the real goal is to learn about some amazing people, not to “win” Lent. Of course if you do stand victorious at the end of the season, you have every right to gloat. In a loving, Christian kind of way, of course. 

As long as you’re enjoying a leisurely morning, why not listen to Tim chatting about all things Lent Madness from yesterday’s edition of Boston Public Radio? Click here and then scroll to 1:28 of the broadcast to catch the only segment that really matters.

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Teresa of Avila vs. David Oakerhater

Today’s match-up between Teresa of Avila and David Oakerhater is Lent Madness at its confounding best. A 16th century Spanish mystic vs. a 19th century Native American deacon. How can you possibly compare these saintly apples and oranges? Well, that’s the challenge you’re confronted with on this second day of Lent Madness 2015 and you may as well get used to it.

Don’t forget, tomorrow is the one and only day there will be a Saturday Lent Madness battle. It’s a math thing. So Molly Brant will face off against Swithun. In case you were wondering about the timing, these match-ups are always posted at 8:00 am EST and the polls are open for 24 hours.

Remember to vote only once. The SEC is vigilant about multiple voting (Scott used to work for IBM so he can zap votes if necessary and Tim, well, he has two teenage sons so he has at-home tech support). Voter fraud is a sin. Don’t be cast into the outer darkness of Lent Madness where we guarantee there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth! And perhaps even public humiliation. If you will be casting multiple votes from a location because you’re at a school or other institution, just let us know in advance. Also, you’ll be glad to know that we keep Jimmy Carter on retainer to insure safe, honest, and open elections.

In yesterday’s battle, Brendan navigated his way to a comfortable victory against Gregory the Illuminator 61% to 39% and will face the winner of John Keble vs. Thecla in the Round of the Saintly Sixteen. It was an historic day at Lent Madness as voting totals were at an all-time high with 7,800 votes cast. We also shattered the previous record for website page views in a single day with 38,000. So, in a fleeting moment of humility, we thank you all.

For an updated bracket and links to past rounds, click the Bracket 2015 tab on the Lent Madness homepage. Bracket Czar Adam Thomas updates it every day for your clicking pleasure.

Oh, and if you can’t get enough of the Madness? Check out Scott’s interview with Fr. Benjamin Gildas on the podcast Priest Pulse. And tune in to hear Tim talking about Lent Madness on Boston Public Radio today at 12:20 pm (Live radio! Could be a train wreck!).

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