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.
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.
The Supreme Executive Committee