Pausing just before the end...

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As Lent Madness 2021 winds down, sports fans might well expect us to say, "Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this Saintly Smackdown, without the express written consent of the Supreme Executive Committee, is prohibited." But that's not really our jam.

Other than our insistence that people vote once and once only, we're pretty relaxed about how Lent Madness is shared and played. We like it when people organize email campaigns for their saint. We love the fan art and many projects that pop up.

In fact, rather than use the just-before-the-end moment to chasten you with rules, we want to pause for a moment of gratitude and a word of hope.

As we mentioned on Monday Madness this week, even the Supreme Executive Committee can admit that we couldn't do Lent Madness ourselves. It takes a whole team to make this happen.

We are grateful for our Distinguished Celebrity Bloggers Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, and David Sibley. Our Celebrity Bloggers this year were Amber Belldene, Anna Fitch Courie, David Creech, Miguel Escobar, Neva Rae Fox, David Hansen, Emily McFarlan Miller, Carol Howard Merritt, and Miriam Willard McKenney. All of them work hard on short deadlines to bring you biographies, quotes, kitsch, and more. We can't forget our Distinguished Bracket Czar, Adam Thomas, who keeps our official bracket updated and writes the unforgettable yet ephemeral headlines to announce each day's competition news.

Forward Movement has sponsored Lent Madness since 2012. The whole team gets involved, including editors, designers, sales folks, marketers, and, of course, editors. Thanks to the Forward Movement team: Liz Brignac, Loren Dixon, Christina Dorn, Vicki Everett, Alyssa Finke, Samantha Franklin, Amy Golden, Carrie Graves, Tania Z. Jones, Kathy Jose, Allison Sandlin Liles, Miriam McKenney, Jason Merritt, Hugo Olaiz, Aleia Robinson, Peggy Sanchez, Jay Sidebotham, Richelle Thompson, and Chris Yaw.

We are profoundly grateful to the many fans of Lent Madness. The comments sections here -- unlike most of the internet -- are usually a delight. We love seeing how each year a community is formed.

This year, we enjoyed the poetry of John Cabot in the comments. We loved seeing the peg dolls that the Cathedral of St. James in South Bend, Indiana painted (and their amazing opening video). We loved Ellie Singer's TikTok videos, including today's video for Absalom Jones vs. Benedict the Moor. Seth Reese built an incredible website for people to post their brackets. To all of you, we say, wow, wow, wow.

Thank you to those we have named and to the whole company of Lent Madness players and fans on earth and in heaven.

We hope you have enjoyed Lent Madness, but even more, we hope that in these saints you have found inspiration. If God can work in such diverse people from all times and places, perhaps God can work in any of us. In these saints, we know that we have friends in heaven, those who have fought the good fight and who can cheer us on in our earthly journey.

If you are grateful, we invite you to make a donation to Forward Movement to support this work. Forward Movement offers inspiration and hope to people around the world with free websites such as Lent Madness, Grow Christians, and 50 Days. Each year, Forward Movement sends over 100,000 copies of free printed material to incarcerated persons, hospital patients, nursing home residents, and deployed military personnel. Forward Movement has provided free resources during the pandemic. All of this, including Lent Madness, is made possible because of generous donors. You can contact the friendly folks at Forward Movement to make your gift or you can give online right now.

As we enter the most holy days of the church year, we hope you will give thanks for all of God's blessings in this life and seek to share God's love with a world in need. Though our Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve will not be what we might hope for this year, we trust this season will bring you closer to Jesus and renew your journey with him.

We'll see you before long when it's nomination tide. While you wait for the time to submit nominations for Lent Madness 2022, check out 50 Days, where you'll find reflections for each day of Eastertide.

We wish you a blessed Easter.

Yours faithfully,

Tim+    Scott+

The Supreme Executive Committee


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23 comments on “Pausing just before the end...”

  1. This is just so much fun and I look forward to it every Lent. So grateful and thankful for all of the effort made by so many, the humor is so uplifting, and I so enjoyed learning of those saints who have gone before us. Many thanks and a Joyous Easter to all.

  2. I have truly enjoyed LentMadness ever since it started! Thank you for keeping this and our spirits going with all of these Saints!

    1. I’ve been wondering the same thing since day one; he certainly made an impression at a very young age!

  3. Love this well written email, with an acknowledgement of all the people who came together to make Lent Madness happen, followed by a gentle request for financial support. Like public radio and TV, I got a lot out of Lent Madness each day for free and am dipping into my proverbial pocket — to show my gratitude for the gifts of the Lent Madness collaborators by making a gift in return. Now I am going to order takeout from a local restaurant!

  4. I look forward to, and very much enjoy this journey through Lent. I find it both educational and inspirational. Thank you very much for all the work that you both do plus all the work the team does

  5. Thanks so much for all the hard work! I really enjoyed this and shared it with many special friends and family.

  6. Thank you all! I enjoy this every year and I learn so much! You all make it so much fun!

  7. I have enjoyed Lenten Madness both in 2020 and 2021. Our pastor got us started on it last year, and I ended up tied for 3rd place, but I did pick the winner of the Golden Halo, Harriet Tubman and am looking at the coffee cup I received for picking the correct winner. This year I picked Absolam Jones, and he is currently winning the Golden Halo by garnering 67% of the vote. If that holds until tomorrow morning, I will be number 1 in our church, based on a point system for correct choices each week: 1 point for each correct choice in Round 1; 2 points for Round 2; 3 points for Round 3; 4 points for Round 4, and 5 points for choosing the correct Golden Halo winner. In his final email before the announcement of the Golden Halo winner, our pastor encouraged us to go online and donate to Forward Movement, and I just did so. Thank you so much for all the excitement and drama of Lenten Madness.

  8. Thanks to the team. I enjoyed this Lenten Competition. Appreciate all your hard work and your skills.

    This year you included some fairly obscure competitor Saints whose stories rely on un-substantiable anecdotal evidence. Can I suggest that in future you recycle some Round 1 dropouts from previous years? Some well known Saints have stumbled at the first hurdle and could deserve another chance. This plea comes from someone who regularly votes for losers.

    1. At some point in the past, I think amongst the posts about "Nominationtide" the Fathers of Lent Madness have explained the rules about how long the also-rans have to wait before being included in the bracket again. I know the number of years increases with each round the also-ran previously survived meaning Jacapone da Todi and Joan of Arc will be eligible again long before Arnulf of Metz and Catherine Booth would be.

      And once there have been 16 years of Lent Madness I would love to see a bracket made up of all 16 pairs of contestants who have been in the final round each of the previous 16 years. As it would be interesting to see if Charles Wesley would still win over Harriet Bedell as he did in 2014 and if Bridget of Kildare would still end up on a pint glass instead of a coffee mug like Francis of Assisi did in 2016.

  9. Yes, this is such a fun way to spend the Lenten season. I, too, felt it went really fast. Thank you all for lots of hard work and to your esteem leaders, "Happy Lent" and Happy Easter in 4 days. Will meet again next year!

  10. Absolutely. I felt as if this year was running out of steam. It all feels a bit right on and politically correct.

  11. I always look forward to Lent Madness. It always brings a smile, a laugh, and some education about very interesting people that I know very little about. Thanks to all who make it happen!

  12. Thank you so much Tim and Scott. I have looked forward to Lent Madness every year, starting the day after Christmas by watching the countdown clock. Every year I meet a new Saint. This year it was Benedict of Palermo. Happy Easter to everyone and again, Thank you all!

  13. Thank you so much! Not only is this great fun, but I learn so much from the celebrity bloggers! Kudos to everyone involved.

  14. Thanks for another year of wonderful Lent Madness! I have learned so much, pondered and prayed and had fun, too. Love those limericks! And all to the glory of God and the gifts of the Paschal Mystery renewed in us over the Great Three Days. Waiting eagerly for Lent Madness 2022!

  15. Thank you so much for making this program. I found it in 2018 and have been a fan ever since! Happy Easter and God bless!!