Happy Nominationtide!

After consulting their ecclesiastical Magic 8-Ball, the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness has determined that there will indeed be a Lent Madness 2025. This was no sure thing as the first reply came back "Reply hazy, try again." Well, the SEC followed this directive and the Lent Madness public has been rewarded with what next appeared: "It is decidedly so."

All of which is a long way of saying, Welcome to Nominationtide! Yes, for the next seven days, we will be accepting saintly nominations as we seek to discern which 32 saints will make it into the 2025 bracket.

The nominating period will remain open through Monday, May 13, 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. Nominationtide is the most moveable of moveable feasts. 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. A brief paragraph (or even a long one) will suffice.
  5. The ONLY way to nominate a saint will be to leave a comment on this post.
  6. That means comments left on Facebook, X, 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 which saint 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 2024, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2023 and 2022, and those from the 2021 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(ish) 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.

The Saints of Lent Madness 2024 (ineligible)
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas the Apostle
Henry Muhlenberg
Albert Schweitzer
Adomnan of Iona
Joseph Vaz
Piran of Cornwall
Cornelius the Centurion
Rafqa of Lebanon
Claire of Assisi
Henry Whipple
Jackson Kemper
Pachomius
Cyprian of Carthage
Canaire
Barbara
Kassia
Casimir
Lazarus
Joseph of Arimathea
Rita
Zita
Brigid of Kildare
Julian of Norwich
Gertrude the Great
Gertrude of Nivelles
Ambrose of Milan
William Byrd
Polycarp
Andrew the Fisherman
Hyacinth
Rose of Lim

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, Julian of Norwich

From 2021-2023 (ineligible)
Joanna the Myrrhbearer
Blandina
Martin de Porres
JS Bach
Bertha of Kent
Chief Seattle
Florence Li Tim-Oi
Teresa of Avila
Juliana of Liege
Origen
Madeleine Barat
Thomas of Villanova
Thomas Aquinas
James Holly
Benedict the Moor
Ives of Kermartin
Catherine of Genoa

Nominate your (hopefully eligible!) favorite saint for Lent Madness XVI!

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Julian of Norwich Wins 2024 Golden Halo!

Congratulations to 2024 Golden Halo winner Julian of Norwich! In the final battle of Lent Madness XV, Julian defeated Albert Schweitzer 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 Julian of Norwich, 14th century English writer and mystic.

Julian 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), José Hernández (2022), and Jonathan Daniels (2023).

To celebrate Julian'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 2024. Order your own mug today at the Forward Movement website! They're just $18 and should ship sometime in the early summer, if not before.

Would you like to nominate a saint for Lent Madness 2025? 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: Julian of Norwich vs. Albert Schweitzer

The end (of Lent Madness 2024) is near! 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: Albert Schweitzer and Julian of Norwich. Who will receive the coveted 2024 Golden Halo? That, friends, is up to you.

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.

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, Miriam McKenney, Emily McFarlan Miller, Keegan Osinski, and David Sibley. 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 everyone at Forward Movement for putting up with our yearly shenanigans. And special gratitude goes to Ashley Graham-Wilcox for helping get words and images into the website each day. She’s a star.

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 (or X or whatever), 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 Anna Courie has ably shepherded Albert Schweitzer through the bracket, while Laurie Brock has done the same for Julian of Norwich. These two veteran Lent Madness contributors are amazing souls, aside from being terrific writers. We’ve asked them for a single image and one quote either by or about their saint. We’ve already heard a lot about Albert and Julian, so now it's time to make your final choice.

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 2024 Lent Madness Golden Halo hangs in the balance!

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Julian of Norwich vs. Andrew the Fisherman

Who will face Albert Schweitzer for the Golden Halo? Well, after he swept past Henry Whipple in yesterday’s contest 67% to 33%, it will either be Julian of Norwich or Andrew the Fisherman.

To get here, Julian defeated Brigid of Kildare, Zita, and Joseph of Arimathea. While Andrew made it past Polycarp, Hyacinth, and Andrew of Milan.

Obviously you didn't miss the final in-season episode of Monday Madness. But just in case here it is.

Vote now!

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Monday Madness -- Faithful Four Edition

The roar of the crowd -- and the wind noise on this video -- have reached high volumes! Tim and Scott are back with another episode of Monday Madness to cover the Faithful Four. The last in-season episode of Lent Madness XV!

Arrival of Holy Week means that Easter is right around the corner! If you're looking for some help celebrating the joy of Easter, you might like Scott's book, Easter Triumph, Easter Joy, with daily devotions for the 50 days of Easter. And Tim's book, Dust Bunnies in the Basket, offers good humor and spiritual direction for Easter and Lent. Your church might like to pass out colorable posters that create a fun way for the whole family to rejoice each day of Eastertide. Check out Alleluia! 50 Days and 50 Ways to Celebrate Easter, which comes in packs of 25.

The Supreme Executive Committee heartily encourages you to find your way to church this week for the most important liturgies of the year. After casting your votes, of course.

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Albert Schweitzer vs. Henry Whipple

Welcome to the Faithful Four! From an initial field of 32 saints, we are down to a holy four: Albert Schweitzer, Henry Whipple, Julian of Norwich, and Andrew the Fisherman.

Today it’s Albert vs. Henry. To get to the Faithful Four, Albert defeated Henry Mühlenberg, Thomas the Apostle, and Cornelius the Centurion. While Henry made it past Jackson Kemper, Clare of Assisi, and Canaire.

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 2024 Golden Halo.

The end is near! Vote now!

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Julian of Norwich vs. Joseph of Arimathea

With three out of the four saints set, today we’ll complete the Faithful Four as Julian of Norwich takes on Jospeh of Arimathea. To make it this far, Joseph zipped past Lazarus and Kassia, while Julian beat Brigid of Kildare and Zita. 

Yesterday Henry Whipple edged Canaire 52% to 48% to advance to the next round.

After today’s vote, we’ll take a collective breath over the weekend to wave palms and hear the Passion Gospel on Sunday. And then next week will bring a fast and furious culmination to Lent Madness XV.

Vote now!

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Henry Whipple vs. Canaire

The Round of Saintly Kitsch continues as Henry Whipple takes on Canaire for a shot at the Faithful Four. To get here, Henry defeated Jackson Kemper and Clare of Assisi, while Canaire made it past Barbara and Cyprian of Carthage.

Yesterday, Andrew the Fisherman hooked Ambrose of Milan 82% to 18% to make it to the next round.

Vote now!

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Ambrose of Milan vs. Andrew the Fisherman

The Elate Eight continues with reckless saintly abandon as Ambrose of Milan faces Andrew the Fisherman. To get this far, Ambrose defeated William Byrd and Gertrude the Great. While Andrew took down Polycarp and Hyacinth. 

Yesterday, Albert Schweitzer became the first saint to make the Faithful Four, as he defeated Cornelius the Centurion 69% to 31%.

Vote now!

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Albert Schweitzer vs. Cornelius the Centurion

And then there were eight. Thus begins the Elate Eight and the mad dash towards the Lent Madness 2024 Golden Halo. The remaining saints in our little competition are Albert Schweitzer, Cornelius the Centurion, Henry Whipple (who yesterday defeated Clare of Assisi 57% to 43%), Canaire, Joseph of Arimathea, Julian of Norwich, Ambrose of Milan, and Andrew the Fisherman. But in the end, only one will prevail. 

After basic biographies and quirks and quotes, we now move into the realm of saintly kitsch. Some people, known as Kitsch Kranks, are unable to enjoy the humor of this round. But for the rest of you, enjoy a whimsical romp into the various ways our saints are honored. Or just hold your breath and click on the links below to view the writeups from the previous rounds, and we’ll see you for the Faithful Four.

We kick things off with Albert Schweitzer taking on Cornelius the Centurion in a battle of the ancient and modern. To get to this point, Albert bested Henry Mühlenberg and Thomas the Apostle, while Cornelius made it past Piran of Cornwell and Adomnan of Iona.

If you missed yesterday's Elate Eight edition of Monday Madness, do penance. And then watch it here as Tim and Scott share the Greatest Commandments of Lent Madness.

Vote now!

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