In the ultimate October Surprise, the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness has declared TODAY All Brackets' Day!
Normally, we announce the new bracket for Lent Madness at the conclusion of the Autumn Triduum: All Saints' Day on November 1, All Souls' Day on November 2, and All Brackets' Day on November 3. The United States Congress wouldn't return our phone calls about rescheduling the general election to accommodate our big day, so we decided -- as a magnanimous gesture -- to move our big day.
So All Brackets' Day, one of the most highly anticipated holy days of the entire year, is here early. Surprise! And, by the way, with the other "madness" (the one involving bouncing orange orbs) having been suspended back in 2020, Lent Madness is now the world's longest continuously-running bracket competition. *
Some would say that in the midst of tense political times, we should avoid distractions like Lent Madness. For a few people, that may be true. But remember the Great Commandment of the world's largest online Lenten devotion*: Lent Madness is optional. For those who enjoy the annual Saintly Smackdown, the unveiling of the Lent Madness 2021 bracket offers a reminder that God works in all kinds of people. As always, in devotion to the saints, we find both inspiration by example and the comfort of knowing that the great cloud of witnesses is ready to cheer us on.
With that all said, we hope you enjoy seeing next year's bracket. You'll find the usual diversity of saints, with a variety of race and gender, laity and clergy, ancient and modern, prophet and pastor, young and old. But you'll see Christ's light burning brightly in each of their lives.
Here's the bracket (click to enlarge):
If you're new to this wacky online devotion, here’s how Lent Madness works.
Please know that unlike professional and collegiate sporting events, there is no admission cost for Lent Madness, but souvenirs and study aids are available in the Lentorium. The Saintly Scorecard: The Official Guide to Lent Madness 2021 is now available for pre-order (or pre-order in bulk for better pricing) as are Bracket posters. Although Lent Madness doesn’t officially kick off until Ash Thursday, February 18, you’re encouraged to order your Lent Madness materials now while supplies last (seriously, we tend to run out of these things in the run-up to Lent).
In the meantime, enjoy checking out the new crop of saints -- there are some amazing but obscure ones in there! And remember that while many (okay, 32) are called, only one will be crowned with the coveted 2021 Golden Halo.
* We have not verified that Lent Madness is really the world's largest online devotion or that Lent Madness is the world's longest continuously-running bracket competition, but it feels true to us, and that's good enough these days.