The Opening Ceremonies of Lent Madness XII

The annual saintly smackdown kicks off on Thursday morning as Camillus de Lellis squares off against Matthias. We’re calling this the Gamblers’ Gambit, and we bet you will too. Odds favor an 8:00 am sharp kick-off on Ash Thursday, February 18. If you haven’t made your bracket picks yet, head over to to enter your picks in an amazing newly-created and just-revealed online tracker!

This year, because we know you are struggling with the pandemic, we decided to add an official opening ceremony to Lent Madness XII, a.k.a. the battle for the coveted 2021 Golden Halo. Since we can’t pack the Lent Dome with fans, we’re holding an online Opening Ceremony. Perhaps next year, we’ll hold an epic in-person event (no ticket scalping!).

For this year, our online ceremony begins with this video, courtesy of the Cathedral of Saint James in South Bend, Indiana.

The folks at St. James’ have painted the amazing peg dolls you see in the video. Big shout out to the lay leaders and clergy for using Lent Madness as an invitation to learn more about the saints and to encourage discipleship whilst having fun.

Now, no sporting event can start without the singing of the national anthem. We were unable to secure Lady Gaga this year, but we DO have a fabulous pre-COVID recording of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in St. Louis, Missouri singing the Official Hymn of Lent Madness.

By the way, St. Peter’s is searching for their next rector. If you know a priest who is open to a new call, tell them to check out the church website. Perhaps they can be the rector of the Lent Hymn Church™. Tell them to hurry; the deadline is today.

The Olympics usually start with an opening ceremony that lasts three or four hours. We know you’re busy, so we’re cutting it short. It’s yet another way that Tim and Scott are caring for you, the Lent Madness global public.

Come back on Thursday morning as the saintly games begin. In the meantime, consider the Lent Madness XII games officially opened!

30 Comments to "The Opening Ceremonies of Lent Madness XII"

  1. Michael Hartney's Gravatar Michael Hartney
    February 16, 2021 - 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Neither of these hot links actually link to what you say. The Facebook links work, though.

    • Michael Hartney's Gravatar Michael Hartney
      February 16, 2021 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Sorry. These links do work. The ones in the email don’t work. My bad.

  2. Karolen Linderman's Gravatar Karolen Linderman
    February 16, 2021 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful way to start Lent Madness!

  3. Ann's Gravatar Ann
    February 16, 2021 - 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I love you two. You’ve added such a wacky but worthy dimension to my observance of Lent. Thank you!

  4. February 16, 2021 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

    With voting beginning on February 18, the Feast of St. Martin of Wittenberg (aka, M. Luther), I wish the patron saint of Lutherans was leading off the first day of voting. Maybe he’ll make the cut in a future year?

  5. Katie Thomson's Gravatar Katie Thomson
    February 16, 2021 - 7:23 pm | Permalink

    The opening ceremonies are SO GREAT!!!

    • A Jennifer's Gravatar A Jennifer
      February 17, 2021 - 2:04 am | Permalink

      Agree!! Well done, peg doll and video artists.
      Product placement LM mugs: brilliant.
      Also, well-sung, St. Peter’s.

      • Joe Stroud's Gravatar Joe Stroud
        February 17, 2021 - 4:57 pm | Permalink

        And, note also, George T. Dog!!

  6. Carol Anderson's Gravatar Carol Anderson
    February 16, 2021 - 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Nice work on those painted Saints and Saintes. The Opening Hymn was great, too. Can’t wait to start tomorrow.

  7. Kathie LeDrew's Gravatar Kathie LeDrew
    February 16, 2021 - 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed

  8. Monica Irwin's Gravatar Monica Irwin
    February 16, 2021 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Martin Luther made the cut a while ago, but the sadistic compilers of the bracket matched him with Martin Luther King. (may the compilers rest eternally on the horns of my dilemma)

  9. Gail Davis's Gravatar Gail Davis
    February 16, 2021 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Superb in every way! Had to go to dreaded FB to get the link.

  10. Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
    February 16, 2021 - 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Great start!

  11. Lynn Harrington's Gravatar Lynn Harrington
    February 16, 2021 - 9:38 pm | Permalink

    What joy and how very clever! Thank you for this gift!

  12. Joanne Parrott's Gravatar Joanne Parrott
    February 16, 2021 - 10:02 pm | Permalink

    What a treat after Shrove Tuesday pancakes. Missed out on getting the book this year so will be surprised each day with the pairings Let’s Go Holy Lent !!

  13. Patricia Gordon's Gravatar Patricia Gordon
    February 16, 2021 - 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Opening ceremony at St. James’ is absolutely fabulous! Made me smile for the first time in weeks. The Lent Madness hymn was suitably inspiring and I loved seeing people in pews again. (This has been a loooooong year!) Thank you all you creative and charming people- you, too, SEC.

  14. Kathleen Puffer's Gravatar Kathleen Puffer
    February 16, 2021 - 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Please tell me I’m not the only one who wonders 8 AM for the opening ceremony according to what time. Knowing you two, it could be Greenwich Mean Time.

    • Michelle C's Gravatar Michelle C
      February 17, 2021 - 7:44 am | Permalink

      Kathleen, it’s 8 am Eastern time. New matches are always up at 8 am Eastern.

  15. Valerie Smith's Gravatar Valerie Smith
    February 17, 2021 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed the Opening Ceremonies and people are so creative. Lent Madnesss is fun and educational. Helps me cope with the stress of the pandemic. I’ve posted on my Facebook for all my friends to see and hopefully participate. Thank you so much for all you do.

  16. Eric Adams's Gravatar Eric Adams
    February 17, 2021 - 10:35 am | Permalink


  17. Jeana I. Fors's Gravatar Jeana I. Fors
    February 17, 2021 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    This was awesome ❣️

  18. Sarah P's Gravatar Sarah P
    February 17, 2021 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    A good start. Enjoyed the Opening Ceremony and the hymn.

  19. Betsey's Gravatar Betsey
    February 17, 2021 - 3:19 pm | Permalink


  20. Willo Fuhr's Gravatar Willo Fuhr
    February 17, 2021 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I love Lent Madness and I too am so happy to see a Church with a a congregation present. I look forward to this every year and especially this year.

  21. February 17, 2021 - 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I happened upon Lent Madness last year, after I had mysteriously lost sight in one eye. Emergency surgery did not work, but I knew that God would restore it in time. We had to cancel our much-anticipated cruise across the Atlantic to Portugal… and you all know how fortunate that was! God was with us every step of the way. Lenten Madness filled my soul every day as I voted for my choice of saint. By May, my eyesight was restored with a second surgery. God carried me through, and Lenten Madness lent a hand!

  22. Amy Leeson's Gravatar Amy Leeson
    February 18, 2021 - 7:04 am | Permalink

    Glad to see the Supreme Executive Committee were given peg dolls this year, too, including coffee mug and dog. The opening ceremonies video made me laugh out loud when the saints began to pass through the arch at the “stadium.” A great diversion from Covid and the disaster unfolding in poor Texas this week. Thank you!

  23. Mary Duff's Gravatar Mary Duff
    February 18, 2021 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    So glad to see happy humour in the life of the Church. We need to laugh and be light- hearted in these trying times! Thank you!

  24. Pamela Payne's Gravatar Pamela Payne
    February 18, 2021 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

    These LM Opening Ceremonies are fabulous! The peg-dolls are so charming and the entire Ceremony excellently performed. And the LM Hymn is perfect! Thank you to the congregations for a joyful beginning to another Lent Madness. And to Scott and Tim (even had Scott’s dog to lead us!).

  25. Lucretia Jevne's Gravatar Lucretia Jevne
    February 18, 2021 - 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant!! AWESOME!!!

  26. Jan Robitscher's Gravatar Jan Robitscher
    February 19, 2021 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

    As a former parishioner of the Cathedral of St. James, I want to offer kudos to all those who painted the peg-doll figures of the saints. They are wonderful! We need some Opening Ceremonies Cheer as we begin Lent in such hard times.

Comments are closed.