Monthly Madness — All Brackets’ Edition

Sure, the regular season of Monday Madness begins just after Christmas. Okay, just after Valentine’s Day. But it’s never too soon to anticipate the thrills and drama of the Lent Madness season that is to come. After all, there are only 114 days days left until Ash Thursday!

Fortunately, Tim and Scott have taken some time out of their busy pre-Lenten schedules, for a special broadcast of Monthly Madness. In this edition, they highlight a few key battles of the newly-unveiled Lent Madness 2020 bracket, rack their brains to recall the Lent Madness url, and generally engage in penitential tomfoolery. And as you’ll see, the opening battle of the upcoming 11th year of the Saintly Smackdown promises to be, more or less, one of the epic battles of all time.

Read more »

Happy All Brackets’ Day!

After the heady days of Nominationtide, and the submission of hundreds and hundreds of saintly nominations, the Supreme Executive Committee is pleased to release the highly anticipated 2020 Lent Madness bracket. Following their Spring Retreat, held in a secure, undisclosed coffee shop where Herculean amounts of single origin coffee was consumed, the SEC whittled down the field to 32 saints who will compete for the coveted Golden Halo.

This year, All Brackets’ Day just happens to fall, appropriately enough, on All Saints’ Sunday. Which means that people everywhere will have something to talk about at coffee hour, besides critiquing the preacher’s sermon. Let the bracketological conversations, feuds, and smack-talk ensue!

All Brackets’ Day also completes the Autumn Triduum (which will surely appear in subsequent Prayer Book revisions) consisting of All Saints’ Day (November 1), All Souls’ Day (November 2), and All Brackets’ Day (November 3).

But enough of this preamble. Let’s get to the 2020 bracket!

Read more »

Nominationtide has Arrived!


Welcome to Nominationtide!

For one full week, the Supreme Executive Committee will be accepting nominations for Lent Madness 2020. The nominating period will remain open through next Thursday morning, May 30, at which point this brief exercise in Lenten democracy will be unceremoniously snuffed out.

To insure your successful nomination, please note the Nominationtide Rules & Regulations:

  1. The nominee must, in fact, be dead.
  2. The nominee must be on the official calendar of saintly commemorations of some church.
  3. We will accept only one nominee per person.
  4. You must tell us WHY you are nominating your saint.
  5. The ONLY way to nominate a saint will be to leave a comment on this post.
  6. That means comments left on Facebook, Twitter, or attached to a brick and thrown through the window at Forward Movement headquarters, don’t count.

As you discern saints to nominate, please keep in mind that a number of saints are ineligible for next year’s “saintly smackdown.” Based on longstanding tradition, this includes the entire field of Lent Madness 2019, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2018 and 2017, and those from the 2016 Faithful Four.

Needless to say Jesus, Mary, Tim, Scott, and previous Golden Halo Winners are also ineligible. Below is a comprehensive list of ineligible saints. Please keep this in mind as you submit your nominations. Do not waste your precious nomination on an ineligible saint!

The Saints of Lent Madness 2019 (all ineligible)

Nicholas of Myra
Rudolph of Gubbio
Paula of Rome
Marcella of Rome
Pandita Ramabai
Damien of Molokai
Marguerite d’Youville
Phillips Brooks
Ephrem of Nisibis
Marina the Monk
Richard Allen
Hanna Grier Coome
James the Greater
John Chrysostom
Margaret of Cortona
Ignatius of Loyola
Tikhon of Zadonsk
William Wilberforce
Agatha Lin Zhao
Mary of Bethany

Past Golden Halo Winners (ineligible)

George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Mary Magdalene, Frances Perkins, Charles Wesley, Francis of Assisi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Florence Nightingale, Anna Alexander, Martha of Bethany

From 2016 to 2018 (ineligible)

Julian of Norwich
Sojourner Truth
Eglantyne Jebb
Martin de Porres
Maria Skobtsova
Phocas the Gardener
Richard Hooker
Franz Jagerstatter
Amelia Bloomer
Augustine of Canterbury
Raymond Nonnatus
Martin Luther

As you contemplate your nomination, you may want to take a moment to visit the Lentorium and order your very own Martha of Bethany mug. The 2019 Golden Halo winner will surely assist you in your deliberations.

And now…Let the Nominations for Lent Madness 2020 start rolling in!

Monday Madness — Golden Halo Celebration Edition

It’s time for the annual Easter Monday Lent Madness post-game show with Tim and Scott. This episode celebrates the victory of Martha of Bethany, winner of the 2019 Golden Halo. You’ll also witness Tim messing up the intro but, well, it’s Easter Monday and he’s tired. Hence his drinking coffee out of a giant vat/vintage Julian of Norwich Silver Halo Winner soup tureen.

Of course, there’s also product placement, namely the pre-ordering of the 2019 Golden Halo Winner Martha of Bethany Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Mug. Get yourself a mug for only $11 and sell it on eBay later for millions, if not billions. You are also reminded that there are limited quantities left of the 2018 Golden Halo Winner Anna Alexander Mug and the 2016 Golden Halo Winner Dietrich Bonhoeffer Pint Glass. And…going somewhere? Who could forget the Lent Madness Travel Mug?

But that’s not all. Nope, your last gasp of Lent Madness 2019 also includes a preview of Nominationtide, the ONLY window when the Lent Madness public (that’s you!) gets to suggest saints for the upcoming year of the Saintly Smackdown. Look for this brief but exciting period  coming up later in Eastertide.

Read more »

Martha of Bethany Wins 2019 Golden Halo!

The Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness congratulates Martha of Bethany for winning the 2019 Golden Halo. Martha became the 10th saint to wear the golden crown by defeating the inspiring runner up Pandita Ramabai. She joins previous Golden Halo winners George Herbert (2010), C.S. Lewis (2011), Mary Magdalene (2012), Frances Perkins (2013), Charles Wesley (2014), Francis of Assisi (2015), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (2016), Florence Nightingale (2017), and Anna Alexander (2018).

To help celebrate Martha’s victory, we’ve invited the creative geniuses who have shared their talents throughout this holy season to honor the Golden Halo winner. We’re delighted they answered the call!

Read more »

For the Golden Halo: Martha of Bethany vs. Pandita Ramabai

Well, friends, we set out upon this Lent Madness journey over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday.” With your help we have narrowed the field of 32 saints down to just two: Martha of Bethany and Pandita Ramabai (who defeated Zenaida 61% to 39% yesterday). Who will win the coveted Golden Halo of Lent Madness 2019? Only 24 hours and your voting participation will reveal this holy mystery.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable saintly folks along the way. Perhaps you learned about some saints you’d never heard of 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 a few things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and had a lot fun along the way.

Of course we literally couldn’t have done this without our stellar Celebrity Bloggers to whom we offer sincere gratitude: Amber Belldene, Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, Anna Fitch Courie, David Creech, Marcus Halley, David Hansen, Carol Howard Meritt, Emily McFarlan Miller, and David Sibley. Thanks to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas for his unsung behind-the-scenes work in keeping the bracket updated daily — in his inimitable style. You all rock! And we’re all grateful for your good writing, good humor, and adhering to most, if not all, of the SEC-imposed deadlines.

Read more »

Free Mug Winners!

Last week, the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness announced that we would be giving away three free mugs featuring 2013 Golden Halo winner Frances Perkins. These are precious collectors’ items, and it’s possible the winners will sell their mugs for a golden fortune. To enter, people were invited to like and share a post on the Forward Movement Facebook page, and the winner was chosen randomly.

Frances Perkins mugWe are pleased to announce that the three winners are Christine Mills, Michelle Crull, and Susan D. Amussen! Soon they’ll be enjoying their coffee (which some have called “satan’s drink”) or tea out of rare, union-made  mugs.

Speaking of collectors’ items, if you want to get an early start on expanding your own collection, it’s not too early to pre-order your 2019 Golden Halo winner Lent Madness mug. It will feature the winner of this season’s epic competition, the tenth anniversary year and first-ever all-woman Faithful Four. Be the envy of your friends as you enjoy your favorite warm beverage later this spring or early summer, when the all-new mug ships. It will feature Martha, Pandita, or Zenaida.

Read more »

Zenaida vs. Pandita Ramabai

Who will face Martha of Bethany for the Golden Halo? That’s the question for today after Martha stung Gobnait 51% to 49% despite a late swarm (and a whiff of overzealous Gobnait supporters) to reach the Lent Madness Championship round.

To get to this point, Zenaida took down Apollonia, Nicholas of Myra, and John Chrysostom, while Pandita defeated Damien of Molokai, Marguerite d’Youville, and William Wilberforce. Whoever wins, the Golden Halo will be decided on Spy Wednesday, with the results announced at 8:00 am Eastern Time on Maundy Thursday. The end is near!

SEC Reminder: We know people get swept up in the fervor of Lent Madness, and sometimes they get so excited they want to vote a few times. Yesterday, we observed quite a few cases of people voting for one saint several times, often 20 or more times. When we catch these, we ban those IP addresses and, assuming we can ascertain with confidence the number of votes, we reverse the votes. Our goal is to make Lent Madness fair and fun for everyone, one person making one vote. We use a combination of manual and automated systems to watch this and yesterday, to try to get these as early as possible, we set our triggers pretty low. So if you find yourself banned, do let us know. And make sure you’re only voting one time per contest! Big Lent is watching…

Oh, and if for some crazy set of circumstances, you missed yesterday’s final in-season episode of Monday Madness featuring our first-ever in studio guest, make sure to catch it here.

Read more »

Monday Madness — Faithful Four Edition

SEC Note: We recorded this week’s episode of Monday Madness this morning, before we knew about the devastating fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Our prayers are with Paris, especially emergency responders, and all those in harm’s way.

This week’s Monday Madness featured our very first-ever on-air guest, the social media powerhouse George T. Dog (follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!), named after George Herbert, the very first Golden Halo winner in 2010.

In other news, Lent Madness 2019 continues to make penitential history as the first-ever all-female Faithful Four is under way today and tomorrow. Tim and Scott preview the battles and also share how the final championship match will go down on Spy Wednesday. As of Thursday morning at 8 a.m. Eastern time, this year’s Lent Madness will be in the books. And by “books” we mean the annals of Lenten history. We can’t predict the winner, but we can be sure that this year’s champion will even out the gender line-up of Golden Halo winners, with five men and five women having taken the crown.

Remember to cast your vote (one per person!) and tell your friends to do the same. Later on, in Eastertide, the SEC will open Nominationtide, during which the Lent Madness faithful may nominate saints for the 2020 bracket. Lent Madness never sleeps.

Read more »

Martha of Bethany vs. Gobnait

Welcome to the Faithful Four! Over the past few weeks we have whittled down the field from 32 saintly souls to a holy four: Martha of Bethany, Gobnait, Zenaida, and Pandita Ramabai. The spiritual nets have been cut down and one of these four will, in a few short days, be awarded the coveted 2019 Golden Halo.

This marks the first time in Lent Madness history that we have an all-female Faithful Four. This means that at the end of this 10th year of Lent Madness, we will have crowned five male winners and five female winners.

Today it’s Martha of Bethany vs. Gobnait. To make it this deep into our little tournament, Martha got past Mary of Bethany, Nicodemus, and Photini, while Gobnait defeated Hrotsvitha, Paula of Rome, and Ignatius of Loyola.

Tomorrow Zenaida will tangle with Pandita Ramabai and then our respective Faithful Four winners will vie for the 2019 Golden Halo on Spy Wednesday, with the winner being crowned at 8:00 am on Maundy Thursday.

Throughout Lent Madness, our saintly heroes have battled via basic bios, quirks and quotes, and event kitsch. In this round, we let our remaining Celebrity Bloggers loose as they answer the question “Why should Saint XX win the Golden Halo?” In other words, they’ve been charged with letting us know why their particular saint is so awesome. We have also invited them to share their two favorite images of their saints. Away we go!

Read more »