Top 10 Ways to Celebrate All Brackets' Day!

It's the moment you've all been waiting for: the unveiling of the 2024 Lent Madness bracket! Stay tuned for the SEC's color commentary on the bracket, highlighting some of the epic contests that will take place over the course of Lent Madness 2024. Right now you should read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the bracket. Then brag to all your friends about how you've memorized all the match-ups and can't wait for Lent to begin.

Lent Madness bracket

Click the image to see a larger version. Or you can download a PDF for printing your very own copy.

Once you have the bracket in your hot little hand, don't stop by simply posting it on your refrigerator. The Supreme Executive Committee offers a few suggestions for helping spread the Lent Madness word.

  1. Post a copy of the bracket on the front door of your church. In fact, why stop at your church? Channel your inner Martin Luther and nail the bracket to the doors of every church in your neighborhood. With giant Lenten nails!
  2. Get the bracket tattooed to your back. You'll be a big hit when you go swimming at the Y.
  3. Mail them out with all your Christmas cards this year. "Lent Madness: It's the Reason for the Season."
  4. Go to the mall and put them under the windshields of every car in the parking lot. For Jesus.
  5. Get front row seats at televised sporting events and hold up the bracket. Consider it the new John 3:16 sign. Rainbow wig optional.
  6. Turn the bracket into a sandwich board and wander through Times Square. Bonus points if you simultaneously hand out copies of the bracket as if you work for a discount electronics store.
  7. Staple a copy of the bracket to your dog's collar and let her roam around the neighborhood sans leash.
  8. Rent a helicopter (or “borrow” one) and make brackets rain down upon the local populace.
  9. Now that those Halloween pop-up stores have closed for the season, convert one into a Bracket pop-up store.
  10. Memorize all 16 matchups and yell them out to everyone on the village green like some kind of penitential town crier.

Feel free to share other ideas (with photo documentation) of course. They may just end up on the Lent Madness Facebook page.

Don't forget to order your very own 2024 Lent Madness Bracket Poster! They're just $15 each, or pay only ten bucks if you order five or more. Get one for home, one for the car, one for work, and one for everyone on your street. Your parish priest will be delighted when she or he sees you've added a bit of Lent Madness spirit by attaching a bracket to the altar frontal or pulpit. Pre-order now, and be among the first to enjoy the poster!

Remember, Advent is coming. Especially if you use purple vestments at your church, think of this as a dress rehearsal for Lent. You can keep your perspective by buying Lent-themed gifts for everyone on your shopping list this Christmas.

Happy Lent!

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Happy Nominationtide!

For one full week, the Supreme Executive Committee will be accepting nominations for Lent Madness 2024. The nominating period will remain open through Saturday, May 27, at which point this brief exercise in Lenten democracy will cease and the SEC will return to their regularly scheduled benevolently authoritarian ways.

Nominationtide, the most underrated of liturgical seasons, never begins at the same time other than the vague "sometime after Easter Day." This is partly because Tim and Scott have day jobs and partly because "whim" is one of their ecclesiastical charisms. But it's here! And the world rejoices!

To insure your SUCCESSFUL nomination, please note the Nominationtide Rules & Regulations, which reside in an ancient illuminated manuscript tended to by aged monks who have been set aside by saints and angels for this holy calling.

  1. The nominee must, in fact, be dead.
  2. The nominee must be on the official calendar of saintly commemorations of some church.
  3. We will accept only one nominee per person.
  4. You must tell us WHY you are nominating your saint.
  5. The ONLY way to nominate a saint will be to leave a comment on this post.
  6. That means comments left on Facebook, Twitter, attached to a brick and thrown through the window at Forward Movement headquarters, or placed on giant placards outside the residences of Tim or Scott don’t count.

As you discern saints to nominate, please keep in mind that a number of saints are ineligible for next year’s Saintly Smackdown. Based on longstanding tradition, this includes the entire field of Lent Madness 2023, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2022 and 2021, and those from the 2020 Faithful Four.

Needless to say Jesus, Mary, Tim, Scott, past or present Celebrity Bloggers, and previous Golden Halo Winners are also ineligible. Below is a comprehensive list of ineligible saints. Please keep this in mind as you submit your nominations. Do not waste your precious nomination on an ineligible saint! (it happens more than you'd think)

For the sake of "transparency," the rest of the process unfolds thusly: Tim and Scott will gather for the annual Spring SEC Retreat at a secure, undisclosed location/coffee shop to consider the nominations and create a full, fun, faithful, and balanced bracket of 32 saints. Then all will be revealed on All Brackets' Day, November 3rd.

Time to nominate your favorite saint! But first, look over this list. Don't throw away your shot.

The Saints of Lent Madness 2023 (ineligible)

Augustine of Hippo
Hippolytus of Rome
Joanna the Myrrh Bearer
Simeon Bachos
Brendan of Clonfert
David of Wales
Rutilio Grande
Josephine Bakhita
Eric Liddell
Dorothy Sayers
Florence Li Tim-Oi
Nicolaus von Zinzendorf
Martin de Porres
Maximus the Confessor
Cuthmann of Steyning
J.S. Bach
Harriet Monsell
Richard Hooker
Olga of Kiev
Bertha of Kent
Stanislaus the Martyr
Chief Seattle
John Donne
Juan Diego

Past Golden Halo Winners (ineligible)

George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Mary Magdalene, Frances Perkins, Charles Wesley, Francis of Assisi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Florence Nightingale, Anna Alexander, Martha of Bethany, Harriet Tubman, Absalom Jones, José Hernandez, Jonathan Daniels

From 2020 to 2022 (ineligible)

Teresa of Avila
Juliana of Liege
Madeleine Barat
Thomas of Villanova
Thomas Aquinas
James Holly
Camillus de Lellis
Benedict of Nursia
Ives of Kermartin
Arnulf of Metz
Albert the Great
Catherine of Genoa
Catherine Booth
Hildegard of Bingen
Elizabeth Fry

And remember, nominations are like voting: just one per person. Let the Nominations for Lent Madness 2024 start rolling in!


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Jonathan Daniels Wins 2023 Golden Halo!

2023 Lent Madness Golden Halo Winner Jonathan Myrick Daniels

Congratulations to 2023 Golden Halo winner Jonathan Myrick Daniels! In a final battle of the J's, Jonathan defeated Joanna the Myrrhbearer to take this year's crown. Both of these last remaining saints, one modern and one ancient, captured the imagination of the Lent Madness voting public, but only one can wear the golden headgear. And that is Jonathan Daniels, Civil Rights era martyr.

Jonathan joins previous Golden Halo winners George Herbert (2010), C.S. Lewis (2011), Mary Magdalene (2012), Frances Perkins (2013), Charles Wesley (2014), Francis of Assisi (2015), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (2016), Florence Nightingale (2017), Anna Alexander (2018), Martha of Bethany (2019), Harriet Tubman (2020), Absalom Jones (2021), and José Hernández (2022).

2023 Lent Madness Golden Halo Winner mugTo celebrate Jonathan's victory, perhaps you'd like a commemorative mug? You can enjoy your favorite warm beverage (the SEC recommends fair trade single-origin coffee, though they understand these also work well with tea) while remembering this epic season of Lent Madness 2023. Order your own mug today at the Forward Movement website! They're just $18 and should ship sometime in the early summer.

Would you like to nominate a saint for Lent Madness 2024? Tim and Scott will be opening up the week-long nomination process (aka Nominationtide) in the coming weeks. While many are called, only 32 are chosen. Stay tuned for details!

Finally, blessings to all as we head into the Triduum and enter into the death and resurrection of our Lord. It’s been a privilege to have you join us on our Lenten pilgrimage. Happy Lent!


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For the Golden Halo: Joanna the Myrrhbearer vs. Jonathan Daniels

Well, friends, we've come nearly to the end of Lent Madness 2023. It's hard to believe we kicked things off over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday” with 32 saintly souls. With your help, the field has been whittled down to just two: Joanna the Myrrhbearer and Jonathan Daniels. Who will receive the coveted 2023 Golden Halo? Only the next 24 hours and your (single) will tell.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable holy people along the way. Perhaps you learned about some folks you’d never heard of before or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ.

In the process of this whimsical Lenten devotion we’ve all made some new online friends, encountered a community of believers who take their faith but not themselves too seriously, learned some things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and hopefully had some fun along the way.

Of course we literally couldn’t have done this without our amazing Celebrity Bloggers, to whom we offer sincere gratitude: Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, Anna Fitch Courie, David Creech, Neva Rae Fox, Heidi Haverkamp, Miriam McKenney, Emily McFarlan Miller, David Sibley, and Eva Suarez. Thanks to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas for his stellar behind-the-scenes work in keeping the bracket updated daily. You all rock!

Thank you to Richelle Thompson and everyone at Forward Movement for putting up with our shenanigans and producing a terrific Saintly Scorecard this year. Special gratitude goes to Ashley Graham-Wilcox for helping get words and images into the website each day.

Finally, thanks to all of you who participated by voting, commenting, drinking coffee out of Lent Madness mugs, filling in brackets, talking about saints with friends, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter, and allowing us to play a small role in your Lenten journey. We’ve loved having each one of you along for the “madness” and on behalf of the Supreme Executive Committee we wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

Before we invite you to cast this final vote, we should note that Emily MacFarlan Miller has ably shepherded Joanna the Myrrhbearer through the bracket, while Eva Suarez has done the same for Jonathan Daniels. We’ve asked them for a single image and one quote either by or about their saint. We’ve already heard a lot about Joanna and Jonathan, so now it's time to make your final choice. If you want to refresh your memory, you can click the Bracket tab and scroll down to view the previous write-ups.

The polls will be open for 24 hours and the winner will be announced at 8:00 am Eastern time on Maundy Thursday. Now go cast your vote — the 2023 Lent Madness Golden Halo hangs in the balance!


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Chief Seattle vs. Jonathan Daniels

Who will face Joanna the Myrrhbearer for the Golden Halo? That's the question of the day, following Joanna's victory over Martin de Porres 58% to 42%, as Chief Seattle faces Jonathan Daniels.

To get to the Faithful Four, Chief Seattle defeated Botulph, John Donne, and Bertha of Kent, while Jonathan bested Rutilio Grande, Josephine Bakhita, and Florence Li Tim-Oi.

In case you missed the last in-season episode of Monday Madness, you can watch it here.

Vote now!


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Monday Madness -- Faithful Four Edition

We interrupt this Holy Week for a special program, the last in-season episode of Monday Madness. Tune in to watch Tim and Scott hold forth on the Faithful Four. They also discuss the mysterious day that comes after Tuesday in Holy Week but before Maundy Thursday. Hint: it involves both espionage AND voting.

Of course, it wouldn't be a true Monday Madness episode without some sales talk, and to fulfill this requirement, Scott and Tim mention the Easter books they've written. If you want them in time for Easter maybe try Amazon (Scott's book or Tim's book), but you can also order from Forward Movement (Tim's book or Scott's book). Or get instant gratification on your Kindle (Scott's book or Tim's book) right now, this very moment!

Lastly, and more importantly, they urge you to attend services at your church for the Three Holy Days: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve. After all, that's what this is really all about.

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Joanna the Myrrhbearer vs. Martin de Porres

Welcome to the Faithful Four! From an initial field of 32 saints, we are down to a holy four: Joanna the Myrrhbearer, Martin de Porres, Jonathan Daniels, and Chief Seattle.

Today it's Joanna vs. Martin. To get to this point, Joan defeated Monica, Augustine, and Blandina, while Martin made it past Maximus the Confessor, Leoba, and JS Bach.

So, what happens in this round? Well, throughout Lent Madness, our saintly heroes have battled via basic bios, quirks and quotes, and even kitsch. In this round, we let our remaining Celebrity Bloggers loose as they answer the question “Why should Saint XX win the Golden Halo?” In other words, they’ve been charged with letting us know why their particular saint is so awesome. We have also invited them to share their two favorite images of their saints.

The Faithful Four continues today and tomorrow and then, on Spy Wednesday, 24 hours of voting begins to determine the winner of the 2023 Golden Halo.

The end is near! Vote now!


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Johann Sebastian Bach vs. Martin de Porres

Today we have the final battle of the Elate Eight as Johann Sebastian Bach faces Martin de Porres. In 24 hours the Faithful Four will be set! One of these two saints will join Joanna the Myrrhbearer, Jonathan Daniels, and Chief Seattle (who defeated Bertha of Kent yesterday 55% to 45%) as one of the last four saints standing in Lent Madness 2023.

To get to this round, Bach bested Harriet Monsell and Richard Hooker, while Martin defeated Maximus the Confessor and Leoba. (Note to Kitsch Kranks: click on these links to view the write-ups from previous rounds).

After Palm Sunday weekend, we'll be back on Monday morning to close out this year's tournament just before the start of the Great Three Days.

Vote now!


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Chief Seattle vs. Bertha of Kent

In the penultimate matchup of the Elate Eight, Chief Seattle takes on Bertha of Kent. To make it to the Elate Eight, Chief Seattle took down Botulph and John Donne, while Bertha sent Olga of Kiev and Edmund packing.

Yesterday, Jonathan Daniels easily advanced to the Faithful Four by defeating Florence Li Tim-Oi 68% to 32%.

Vote Now!


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Jonathan Myrick Daniels vs. Florence Li Tim-Oi

The Elate Eighty continues as Jonathan Daniels face Florence Li Tim-Oi. The winner will join Joanna the Myrrhbearer in the Faithful Four following her overwhelming victory over Blandina 78% to 22%.

To get to the Elate Eight, Jonathan defeated Rutilio Grande and Josephine Bakhita, while Florence took down Nicolaus von Zinzendorf and Enmegahbowh.

Vote now!


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