Monica v. Joanna the Myrrhbearer

Another day, another matchup. Today it's Monica vs. Joanna the Myrrhbearer. 4th century Christian and the mother of a saint vs. a Biblical disciple of Jesus with a great moniker. Tough call, but one you'll have to make.

In yesterday' saintly action, Richard Hooker took down Scholastica 61% to 39% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen.

And if for some shocking reason, you missed this week's edition of Monday Madness you can watch it here. Tim and Scott take it very personally if you don't have the entire extended family gather around the computer screen to watch. Just so you know.

Time to vote!


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Monday Madness -- February 27, 2023

Gather the kids around the computer, it's time for another action-packed, fun-filled episode of the award-winning (awards are a social construct) Monday Madness. This week, in the first in-season episode of the year, Tim and Scott are joined by a special celebrity guest! They discuss ongoing controversies surrounding Lent Madness XIV, and offer a most Anglican solution. And did we mention a special celebrity guest?

If this episode leaves you wanting more, fear not! You can go watch the entire Monday Madness oeuvre on Lent Madness TV. And if you want something else to fill your time, don't forget to follow this week's special guest on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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Scholastica v. Richard Hooker

Welcome to the FIRST FULL WEEK of Lent Madness 2023! Today in the Saintly Smackdown it's Scholastica vs. Richard Hooker. Sixth century Italian nun vs. 16th century English theologian. This is precisely the kind of unusual pairing of saintly souls we've come to expect with Lent Madness. Is it fair? No! Is it Madness? Yes!

On Saturday, Bertha of Kent soundly defeated Olga of Kiev 76% to 24% to advance to the Saintly Sixteen. Will today's matchup finally bring us a hotly contested battle? Or will we endure yet another rout? Only time, and your (single) vote, will tell.


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Olga of Kiev v. Bertha of Kent

Welcome to the ONLY Saturday matchup of Lent Madness 2023. From here on out, every weekday of Lent will feature a new opportunity for learning and voting. We won't stop until Spy Wednesday! (more about that in due time)

Today it's Olga of Kiev vs. Bertha of Kent. A woman who played a role in converting Russians to Christianity vs. a woman who played a role in converting the English to Christianity.

Yesterday, in the second romp in as many days, Florence Li Tim-Oi defeated Nicolaus von Zinzendorf 79% to 21%. Don't worry! We'll get some nail biters soon enough. It's all but guaranteed.

Well, go vote and we'll see you first thing Monday morning as Scholastica takes on Richard Hooker.


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Florence Li Tim-Oi v. Nicolaus von Zinzendorf

Congratulations! You survived the first battle of Lent Madness 2023. Of course, the same cannot be said for Hippolytus of Rome who was trounced by Augustine of Hippo 80% to 20%, to become the first saint to punch his ticket to the Saintly Sixteen.

Today in Lent Madness action it's Florence Li Tim-Oi, the first woman to be ordained a priest in the Anglican Communion, facing off against Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, a Moravian whose name is just too fun to say.

And don't forget, tomorrow is the ONE AND ONLY Saturday matchup of Lent Madness, as Olga of Kiev takes on Bertha of Kent.

Finally, if you want to find out when your favorite saint will be up in the bracket, click (and maybe even print out) this year's Matchup Calendar.

Now go vote!


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Augustine of Hippo v. Hippolytus of Rome

Welcome to the opening matchup of Lent Madness 2023! If you’re a veteran Lent Madness participant, welcome back! If you're joining us for the first time, we’re delighted you’re along for this wild, saintly ride! And if you're just penitential-curious, check out the About Lent Madness tab on the website to find out what all the fuss is about.

To experience the fullness of Lent Madness, the Supreme Executive Committee (the somewhat benevolent dictatorship that runs this whole enterprise) encourages you to do a couple things. First, like Lent Madness on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter. Second, subscribe to the Lent Madness e-mails so you never miss a vote — you’ll get each matchup hand-delivered to your inbox on the weekdays of Lent. You can do this by going to the home page of our website and entering your e-mail address. We highly recommend doing this. Finally, you can fill out a bracket online and daily see how you stack up against those who take their Lenten bracketology seriously.

But mostly, we encourage you to read about the 32 saints participating in this year’s edition of Lent Madness, faithfully cast your (single!) vote on the weekdays of Lent, and add your comments to the great cloud of participating witnesses that gathers as the online Lent Madness community each year. It's true that this is the only place on the internet where reading the comments is actually edifying.

If you’re wondering when your favorite saint will be competing – in order to rally your friends and neighbors (creative campaigning is encouraged, voter fraud is not) – you can check out the 2023 Matchup Calendar. And if you'd like to see all 32 saints in this year's bracket represented in peg doll form, check out this AMAZING video from our friends at St. James Cathedral in South Bend, Indiana.

Things kick off with a matchup featuring two hippos - kind of - as Augustine of Hippo takes on Hippolytus of Rome.

Friends, it's time to cast your very first vote of Lent Madness 2023! We’re glad you’re all here. Now get to it!


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Invitation to a Holy Lent

Dear Friends,

ash wednesday markBlessings to you all on this Ash Wednesday. While we like to have a lot of fun here at Lent Madness and occasionally engage in a bit of holy hyperbole, we're always mindful of why we host Lent Madness. Learning about and being inspired by saintly lives is food for our respective journeys of life and faith. The season of Lent has a wonderful way of stripping everything down to its essentials and bringing us back to the basics of our faith.

We can learn much from those who have come before us as faithful witnesses to the Gospel. And they always seem to come back to this: "Love God, love neighbor." Each one of these holy men and women did just that in their own time and in their own circumstances and they can inspire us to do the same in our own day. Like us, the saints weren't perfect -- but it's freeing to remember that perfection isn't the goal but faithfulness. Lent Madness helps make real these heroes of the faith by reminding us that they were living, breathing human beings not lifeless statues or distant figures immortalized yet immobilized in stained glass.

So as we stand at the cusp of another season of "madness" (it all begins tomorrow at 8:00 am EST), it's important to take a step back to remember why we engage in this unique online devotion. Yes, Lent is a time for self-examination and repentance but the essence of Lent Madness is to remind us that Lent is also a time of joy. After all, what could be more joyful than a time specifically set aside to grow our individual and collective relationships with Jesus Christ?

Know that you are all in our prayers on this Ash Wednesday and we encourage you to attend today's liturgy as an entrance into the season. Fortunately, the church has many "branch locations" spread throughout the world -- check your local listings. Then reflect on these words from the Book of Common Prayer:

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.

Have a blessed Lent.

In Christ,

Tim and Scott
(AKA the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness)

Photo by Annika Gordon on Unsplash

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Lent Madness XIV Pre-game Show

With all major sporting events, there's the game, but only after the pre-game show. It's no different with Lent Madness. This year's pre-game entertainment comes from the Cathedral of St. James in South Bend, IN. Each year, they paint peg dolls of all the saints in the bracket. Yes, really! As if that's not cool enough, they then make an amazing video. So here is the pre-game video for Lent Madness XIV.

And of course, you won't want to forget to sing along with the official hymn of Lent Madness, brought to you by St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Ladue, MO.

Today is a great day to fill out your online bracket (go to the Bracket tab and click Play a Bracket to compete against everyone who fills one out in advance). Then, tomorrow, we hope you'll be in church for Ash Wednesday. The Saintly Smackdown begins at 8:00 a.m. EST on Ash Thursday, February 23.


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Monday Madness -- February 20, 2023

Join Tim and Scott for the one and only pre-season episode of Lent Madness 2023. Or, if you're fancy, are a Roman gladiator, or think of Lent as the Super Bowl of the church year, you can call it Lent Madness XIV. In this episode, the Supreme Executive Committee shares some exciting news about a new location for 50% of the Lent Madness governing body (Spoiler Alert: Scott's still in Cincinnati).

As you watch, you might be inspired to visit the Lent Madness website and fill out an online bracket. If you do this, you can track your bracket-picking success compared with the rest of the Lent Madness global viewing public online. While the Lentorium is sold out of giant bracket posters, you can print your own giant bracket using the free image.

Whether you're using a beautiful professionally made giant bracket poster or a quick do-it-yourself special, why ruin it with your own semi-legible handwriting? Thanks to Fr. David Simmons of Waukesha, WI, we have a lovely label sheet for you to download FOR FREE. Just print out this sheet onto Avery 5160 labels, and your bracket will be museum-ready.

Please do invite your friends and neighbors to play Lent Madness. But don't forget to get yourself to church on Ash Wednesday to get your Lent off to the right start. Then enjoy the rest of the season as you alternate between repenting and voting.

See you on Ash Thursday (February 23) as Augustine of Hippo takes on Hippolytus on Opening Day of Lent Madness 2023!


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