Purple Friday is Here!

Purple Friday banner
Welcome to Purple Friday 2016, the one-day bonanza of insanely low prices in the Lentorium. Get all your must-have Lent Madness items today! Okay, actually, the prices will last through Cyber Monday, November 30. But you’d better get in line now, because quantities are limited!

Think of the bracket poster as this year’s Tickle-Me-Elmo doll or whatever the hot-ticket item is this year (speaking of which, did we mention St. Elmo made the 2016 bracket?). You want to get your bracket poster right away! Just don’t claw anyone on your way into the store! Shop now!

Saintly Scorecard 2016Today is also launch day for the Saintly Scorecard: The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2016. It’s so cheap we can’t discount it, but you’ll want to place your order while supplies last. It’s only $3, which is a steal. But if you buy ten, they’re just $2. And if you buy 25 or more (as many parishes do — and all parishes should), we’re practically giving them away for only a dollar. Pre-order yours today!

The Supreme Executive Committee offers a live video report from Purple Friday, including details of their late-night trip to open the Lentorium doors at midnight. Watch as Scott and Tim reveal bargains never before seen, and never to be seen again. Also tune in for exclusive product information about the giant bracket poster (spoiler alert: it’s not merely printed in black & white!) — and details about the Muzak you’ll hear when browsing the Lentorium on Purple Friday.

Of course, it’s not just Lent Madness stuff that’s on sale at low, low prices today. Check out the full sale list for details on Forward Movement bargains galore! Here are some examples of the special Purple Friday pricing:

Read more »

2016 Lent Madness Bracket Released!

Happy All Brackets’ Day! And welcome to the holy Season of Pre-Lent (aka any time outside the penitential confines of Lent’s 40 days and 40 nights).

LM2016 BracketWhile much of the world is recovering from the Halloween sugar high, the rabid Lent Madness faithful cast their collective eye toward Lent 2016. It may be more than three months away, but the 2016 bracket of 32 saints has been officially released by the Lent Madness Supreme Executive Committee! For the seventh year running, people worldwide are gearing up for the “saintly smackdown” that will kick off on “Ash Thursday,” February 11.

In response to a question about why people should think about Lent in November, Lent Madness creator, Tim says, “It’s all part of our diabolical plan to create a year-round Lent. Why be penitential for just 40 days and 40 nights? And if you can walk into some big box store and see Christmas decorations in August, why can’t you walk into your local coffee shop and see purple lights strung up in November?” Scott agrees. “The Lent-Industrial complex is alive, well and thriving. We’re simply tapping into it in order to get people talking about saints throughout the year.”

Click here to access the full bracket. If you are a true fan, you’re going to want to pony up ten bucks for a giant bracket poster (printed in full color with extra purple!) from Forward Movement. But first, watch the latest edition of Monthly Madness as Tim and Scott highlight some of the unique battles to come in Lent Madness 2016.

Then let the saintly games begin! Well, in three months or so.

Monthly Madness — September 2015

Get ready, world. The Pope’s visit is about to be overshadowed by the biggest religion story of early autumn. Yes, friends, it’s time to reveal the lineup of 2016 Celebrity Bloggers. Scott and Tim have the goods in the latest episode of Monthly Madness!

We bid farewell to several retiring Celebrity Bloggers, whose jerseys are now hoisted to the rafters in the LentDome. We also welcome five new Celebrity Bloggers: Anna Fitch Courie, David Hansen, Beth Lewis, Hugo Olaiz, and Derek Olsen. Please note we now have two doctors and a nurse in the house in case of medical and/or spiritual emergency.

As usual, the Supreme Executive Committee urges you to show that you love Lent Madness (and Jesus) the most by spending your hard-earned money in the Lentorium. In addition to the standard mug spiel, they are hawking Meet the Saints, a family storybook published by Forward Movement about the saints of the church. Check it out — it’s part of a free, downloadable curriculum for congregations in which children, youth, and adults can learn more about saints and how Jesus’ light shone brightly in women and men through history. Get yours now, for free, using these links for children or youth/adults.

Most important, mark your calendars for All Brackets’ Day, November 3, and get ready to stare at your browser at 8:00 am Eastern time as the Lent Madness 2016 bracket is unveiled. It’s not too early to queue up for a good seat by the computer.

SEC Planning Takeover of National Cathedral

port_NationalCathedralYou may have heard by now that the dean of the Washington National Cathedral will soon be retiring. If not, you can read about it in this article from Tuesday’s Washington Post.

The Very Rev. Gary Hall has had an illustrious ministerial career that has literally taken him all over the world. We’re pretty sure, however, that the true highlight of his ministry at WNC was being tapped by the Supreme Executive Committee to officially open Lent Madness 2014. Watch the video to take a trip down Lenten lane.

Yes, he also wrote a back cover blurb for the founder of Lent Madness’ 2015 book Father Tim’s Church Survival Guide but this presumably ranks a distant second in Dean Hall’s vocational highlight reel.

As the Washington National Cathedral will soon be experiencing a power vacuum (a.k.a. searching for a new dean), the SEC is considering a hostile takeover. Well, not hostile exactly. It’s really more of a holy takeover.

Here are the top 10 things the SEC will do to make the National Cathedral even more awesome than it already is.
Read more »

A Pastoral Letter from the SEC

120910aDear Brothers and Sisters in Lent Madness,

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ,” as Paul of Tarsus said before he was ignominiously defeated by Emma of Hawaii in Lent Madness 2012.

As you know from breathlessly following Lent Madness on Facebook and Twitter (using hashtag #SECconclave), the Supreme Executive Committee has been prayerfully discerning the 2016 bracket throughout the day. Much coffee was consumed. And then more coffee was consumed.

We realize that many of you find it unbearable to endure the wait until All Brackets’ Day (November 3), when the 2016 bracket is released to the entire world. The SEC hears the plaintive cry of the Lent Madness faithful, and we assure you of our constant concern during this wilderness time. Though not so much as to provide even a hint about the content of the aforementioned 2016 bracket.

Of course, to keep things in perspective, it could always be worse. You could contract leprosy — although that wouldn’t be so bad either, since you would be able to meet Damien of Molokai (defeated in the first round of Lent Madness 2013) while experiencing an all-expenses-paid (not by us) trip to Hawaii.

Nonetheless, the SEC, in our beneficent magnanimity and unsurpassed compassion hereby offer the follow coping strategies:
Read more »

Throwback Thursday: Seeking Purple at #GC78

Was it last week or last century that a bunch of Episcopalians gathered in Salt Lake City for the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church? Seems like long ago, but it was just days. At Lent Madness HQ, we dug around in the archives and found this gem for Throwback Thursday. Enjoy the thrill of adventure as the entire Supreme Executive Committee (which is unicameral and yet bicameral, a great mystery) searches far and wide for signs of Lent Madness devotion. Additional hilarity ensues.

Stay tuned for news of the SEC Summer Retreat, at which Tim and Scott will gather in a secure, undisclosed location to discern the bracket for Lent Madness 2016. Thirty-one more saints need to be chosen for the bracket to join Clare, who didn’t need any voting irregularities to defeat Chad at a play-in held at General Convention.

Lent Madness 2016 Play-in: Chad vs. Clare

Welcome to this special edition play-in round of Lent Madness 2016 as we mark International Lent Madness Day with purple trumpets blaring. Coincidentally, this monumental occasion coincides with Lent Madness Day at the Episcopal Church’s triennial General Convention in Salt Lake City.

Voting will run for 12 hours, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Eastern Time with both an online poll and an in-person voting opportunity at the Forward Movement booth on the Convention floor. The winner in this matchup of the Holy C’s will advance to the to-be-determined 2016 Lent Madness bracket. Stay tuned for the announcement of the full bracket on All Brackets Day, November 3rd. We suggest sitting at your computer and hitting “refresh” for the next four months in anticipation of the blessed event.

In honor of all the voting at General Convention, we thought (Hanging) Chad of Lichfield would be a worthy contender to face Clare of Assisi as the Church seeks Clare-ity in its discernment on the issues of the day.

So, friends, the fate of the initial entrant into Lent Madness 2016 rests in your capable voting (once!) hands. We will share the result sometime soon after the live and in-person polls close. Minions have been acquired to tally the results of the paper ballots in a secure, undisclosed location in the salt flats, which will then be added to the online count.

While you wait for the results, perhaps you’ll want to warm up with a cup of coffee from a Francis of Assisi 2015 Golden Halo Winner Coffee Mug or cool down with a pint of your favorite beverage from a Brigid of Kildare 2015 Silver Halo Winner Winner Pint Glass. You may also want to prepare for Lent Madness 2016 by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter.

Now, on to the most important vote of the week and a brief foretaste of the Madness that is to come!

2-march-chad-bishop-of-lichfieldChad of Lichfield

Chad (634-672), a native of Northumbria, was one of four brothers who lived lives in service of the Church. Chad’s eldest brother, Cedd, was Abbot of a large monastery at Lastingham. Upon his brother’s death in 664, the abbacy passed to Chad. The Venerable Bede recounts that Chad was “a holy man, modest in his ways, learned in the Scriptures, and zealous in carrying out their teaching.”

Around the time he became Abbot of Lastingham, the Bishop of Northumbria died, setting in play a strange series of events in which Chad would ultimately become intricately involved. Oswiu, the King of Northumbria, chose Wilfrid, a Northumbrian noble, to become Bishop. However, due to an outbreak of the plague in England, Wilfrid found himself unable to find the three bishops necessary to ordain him; undeterred, he sailed for France to seek ordination.

Bede notes that during Wilfrid’s absence, the King of Northumbria became impatient with the vacancy and decided to take further action. Impressed by Chad’s holiness, the King appointed him to take Wilfrid’s place as Bishop of Northumbria. Chad encountered the same problems in tracking down bishops as Wilfrid did; ultimately, he traveled to Wessex, where he was irregularly ordained bishop by two British and one Welsh bishop – none of whom were recognized by Rome. Bede recounts that Chad diligently set himself to the work of administering his see.

By the time Wilfrid returned from France, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore of Tarsus, denied the legitimacy of Chad’s appointment, and announced his intention to install Wilfrid to Chad’s see. Theodore instructed Chad to step down from his position as Bishop of Northumbria. In an act of profound humility and obedience, Chad did so without hesitation or reserve, and he returned to his abbacy at Lastingham.

Later that same year, the King of Mercia requested a Bishop. Remembering Chad’s example of humility and holiness, Archbishop Theodore recalled Chad from his retirement to Lastingham, and had him re-ordained as a bishop. Chad’s humility was most acutely seen when he refused to use a horse to travel his diocese, preferring to follow the example of the apostles by walking.

Chad ran his new diocese as diligently as he had administered his former one, establishing a Monastery at Barrow. Two and a half years after his re-ordination, Chad succumbed to the plague in 672. Bede recounts that Chad was “mindful to his end of all that the Lord did.”

saint-clare-of-assisi-01Clare of Assisi

Clare (1194-1253) was born to a wealthy family in Assisi and as a teenager heard a moving sermon by Saint Francis (of Lent Madness 2016 Golden Halo fame).

Much to the chagrin of her family, at the age of 18 she decided to take a vow of poverty and follow a Franciscan lifestyle. Her family brought her back by force but she slipped out again and entered a nearby convent of Benedictine sisters. Soon enough Francis gave her and several other nuns both a rule of life and a dwelling built next to the church in San Damiano. They became known as the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano,” living a life of poverty, prayer, and seclusion. In time, two of her sisters, her widowed mother, and several close friends also joined the order.

These female Franciscans came to be known as Poor Clares and Francis himself named Clare the Superior. The Poor Clares devoted themselves to prayer and caring for the sick, needy, and marginalized. They also lived a life of extreme poverty — beyond what other female orders had ever experienced. They lived a life of complete poverty individually and collectively; they had no beds beyond piles of twigs, they engaged in hard labor, and begged for whatever food they ate.

Clare stood up to various ecclesiastical authorities seeking to impose a less severe rule upon her order. Her strength of conviction defied the norms of female religious orders in the same way Francis faced criticism for his strict and passionate observe of his own faith.

Clare and Francis have been linked by their friendship and dedication to the Gospel of Christ. During her lifetime some even referred to her as alter Franciscus, or “another Francis.” Clare tended to Francis during his old age and considered him always her spiritual father.

Clare died in 1253 at the age of 59 and her remains are kept in the Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi. Ten years after her death the order she led became known as the Order of Saint Clare.


Chad of Lichfield vs. Clare of Assisi

  • Clare of Assisi (63%, 862 Votes)
  • Chad of Lichfield (37%, 510 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,372

Loading ... Loading ...

A Solemn Proclamation from the SEC

A Solemn Proclamation from the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness

Lent CrierBe it known to all unto whom these present letters may come, that the Episcopal Church is preparing to gather in its General Convention, said Convention to be held in Salt Lake City and in the Diocese of Utah in the Beehive State; and

Whereas, It would be madness if no one lent the Convention a bit of holy humor and saintly piety; and

Whereas, The Supreme Executive Committee has taken unto itself to improve and saintify the General Convention; now therefore be it

Resolved, That Thursday, June 25, 2015 is hereby declared as Lent Madness Day; and be it further

Resolved, That Francis of Assisi, or a life-size cardboard image thereof, shall be present for those who wish to have their photographs taken or portraits painted with the winner of the Golden Halo in Lent Madness 2015; and be it further

Resolved, That a play-in match for Lent Madness 2016 shall be held on this day, allowing General Convention guests, bishops, and deputies the opportunity to cast the most important vote of the entire Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That the entire Supreme Executive Committee shall be present at the Forward Movement booth of the exhibit hall to offer autographs of the aforementioned Supreme Executive Committee.

Given under our hand, seal, and smirk on this day, the eighteenth day of June in the two thousand and fifteenth year of our Lord’s grace and in the fourth year of our reign over the Saintly Smackdown.

Accepting Nominations!

nominations-openNominations for next year’s field of 32 saints are now being accepted by the Supreme Executive Committee. Yes, for the next week we invite you to revel in the joyful, anticipatory Season of Nominationtide.

But before we get to the main attraction, we encourage you to visit the Lentorium. You can prove your love for Lent Madness by loading up on Lent Madness merchandise, including the ubiquitous Lent Madness mug featuring 2015 Golden Halo winner Francis of Assisi, the novel pint glass featuring Silver Halo winner Brigid of Kildare, or the de rigeur purple Lent Madness t-shirt.

And now, on to the main event: the call for nominations for Lent Madness 2016!

As always, we seek to put together a balanced bracket of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical representing the breadth and diversity of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Inevitably, some will disagree with certain match-ups or be disappointed that their favorite saint didn’t end up in the official bracket. If you find yourself muttering invective against the SEC, we implore you to take a deep cleansing breath. Remember, there’s always Lent Madness 2034.

While the SEC remains responsible for the formation of the final bracket, we encourage your participation in the nominating process. As in past years, we might even listen to some of your suggestions.

As you discern saints to nominate, please keep in mind that a number of saints are ineligible for next year’s “saintly smack down.” This includes previous Golden Halo winners, the entire field of Lent Madness 2015, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2014 and 2013, and those from the 2012 Faithful Four. Here is a comprehensive list of ineligible saints. Please keep this in mind as you submit your nominations — which you can do ONLY by leaving a comment on this post. Did we mention that the only way to make a nomination for Lent Madness 2016 is to leave a comment on this post?

Also, please note that the saints you nominate should be in the sanctoral calendar of one or more churches. We’re open minded. To a point.

Remember that when it comes to saints in Lent Madness, many are called yet few are chosen (by the SEC). So leave a comment below with your (eligible) nomination!

Past Golden Halo Winners (ineligible)
George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Mary Magdalene, Frances Perkins, Charles Wesley, Francis of Assisi

The Field from 2015 (all ineligible)
Gregory the Illuminator 
Brendan the Navigator
John Keble
Francis of Assisi
John Wycliffe
Bernard Mizecki
Margaret of Antioch
Margery Kempe
Jackson Kemper
Molly Brant
Juan Diego
Frederick Douglass
Thomas Ken
Dionysius the Great
Irene the Great
Brigid of Kildare
William Laud
Teresa of Avila
David Oakerhater

From 2012 — 2014 (ineligible)
Basil the Great
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Bedell
Anna Cooper
Phillips Brooks
Julia Chester Emery
Jonathan Daniels
Hilda of Whitby
Dorothy Day
Li-Tim Oi
Oscar Romero
Emma of Hawaii
Margaret of Scotland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

After a mysterious process of bracket discernment at the upcoming SEC Retreat, the 2016 Bracket will be released on All Brackets Day, November 3, 2015. You have until Ascension Thursday, May 14, to make your nomination. In other words, your time is up when Jesus goes up.

For now, we wish you a joyous Nominationtide.


Thanks for your nominations! Nominations for Lent Madness 2016 are now closed. But stay tuned – All Brackets Day, and the grand unveiling of next year’s bracket –  is November 3.

Nominationtide draws nigh

Mere days from now, the Supreme Executive Committee will begin accepting saintly nominations for Lent Madness 2016 during the holy season of Nominationtide. This sacred time of the year will commence at 8:00 am this Thursday, May 7, and run for a full week, concluding on the Feast of the Ascension, May 14.

While the process for precisely how the Lent Madness bracket is formulated is one of the great sacred mysteries of the faith, know that the SEC does indeed occasionally heed the cry of the Lent Madness faithful. Thus while maintaining supremacy in all things, there is a tiny window into which Lenten democracy flows. But don’t get used to it.

As you fast in preparation for Nominationtide we offer you a glimpse into the mind of the SEC with this classic Monday Madness video explaining the bracket formation process. Let’s just say that ferrets are involved.