Nominationtide is upon us!

For one full week, the Supreme Executive Committee will be accepting nominations for Lent Madness 2023. The nominating period will remain open through Monday, May 16, 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 nomination 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 2022, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2021 and 2020, and those from the 2019 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!

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. Or at least, "that's the ways we've always done it."

Time to nominate your favorite saint! But first, look over this list.

The Saints of Lent Madness 2022 (ineligible)

Teresa of Avila
Juliana of Liege
Juana Inés de la Cruz
Gabriel the Archangel
Hilda of Whitby
Mesrop Mashtots
Madeline Sophie Barat
Melania the Elder
Hilary of Poitiers
Aloysius Gonzaga
Thomas of Villanova
Felix of Burgundy
Oscar of Ansgar
Thomas Aquinas
Emma of Hawaii
Hugh of Lincoln
José Gregorio Hernández
Constance of Memphis
James Holly
Kateri Tekakwitha

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 Hernández

From 2019 to 2021 (ineligible)

Pandita Ramabai
Herman of Alaska
Hildegard of Bingen
Elizabeth Fry
Camillus de Lellis
Benedict the Moor
Ives of Kermartin
Albert the Great
Theodore the Empress
Catherine Booth
2022 Golden Halo mug

As you contemplate your (single!) nomination, why not aid your reflection and sharpen your focus with a hot mug of your favorite beverage? The most effective way to do this, of course, is by reverently sipping out of a Lent Madness mug from the Lentorium. We assume you’ve already ordered your José Hernández 2022 Golden Halo winner mug, but if not, here’s the link.

Read More
Lent Madness Photo Finish!

In the closest Golden Halo voting in the history of Lent Madness, Teresa of Avila and José Hernández have taken the championship round down to the wire. While voting closes at 8 am Eastern Time, the Supreme Executive will be conducting a forensic analysis of the voting to insure the correct winner is announced. We appreciate your patience and look forward to sharing the good news with the world later today.

In many ways, this year's finale comes down to everything we love about Lent Madness. Teresa is a beloved saint who has inspired generations of Christians. While José has captured the imagination of the Lent Madness voting public, many of whom met him for the first time. Whoever ends up winning the Golden Halo, we have all been enriched by the presence of these two saintly souls throughout this season of Lent.

Thanks for you forbearance as we work to certify the results of this election. We are committed to getting this right!

Read More
Anna vs. Eglantyne (with vote button!)

Yeah, yeah. So we're not perfect. The first email featuring Anna Alexander vs. Eglantyne Jebb didn't have a vote button. It's been updated but here's a link to the fixed post. Now stop complaining and go vote!

Anna Alexander vs. Eglantyne Jebb

Read More
Lent Madness takes on March Madness

Here at Lent Madness we were shocked to learn that there is some other bracket competition that takes place this time of year. Apparently it involves an orange orb referred to as a "basketball." Not ready to leave brackets to the whims of others, we have done a saintly analysis of this other March endeavor.

What follows is the Official Lent Madness Bracket Analysis For Tournaments Taking Place During March That Do Not Involve Saints.

When you examine the NCAA basketball tournament from a saintly perspective, three categories emerge: The Obvious, The Perhaps, and The Give Me A Break.


Read More
Lent Madness meets March Madness

BracketApparently there's some other bracket-style tournament that takes place this month. Who knew? And while the Lent Madness Legal Team considers its options, we thought we'd do a quick bracket analysis of the teams in this year's NCAA basketball tournament.

Where are the saints? Have they ever appeared in Lent Madness? Do people get upset when mystical teams take on modern teams? The Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness dives into the fray.

Obviously OUR bracket is holier than THEIR bracket. But nonetheless, if you look hard enough, there are some parallels.


Read More
Free Lent Madness Article!

free-picIn the spirit of FREE, as first announced in yesterday's Monday Madness episode, the Supreme Executive Committee of Lent Madness is offering you a gift of great value. Do you have a looming church newsletter deadline? Is your local paper desperate for material? Here is an article you can use for...wait for!

Just think of Tim and Scott as the Magi, kneeling before you, offering you this gift. Then erase that horrible image from your mind.

And if you use this article in any form? Let us know. We'd be delighted to hear how you, too, became a Lent Madness evangelist.

Lent Madness 2016
The Saintly Smack Down!

For the seventh year running, people worldwide are gearing up for Lent Madness, the “saintly smackdown” in which thirty-two saints do battle to win the coveted Golden Halo.

Yes, the world’s most popular online Lenten devotion is back for another round of saintly thrills and spills. With its unique blend of cut-throat competition, learning, and humor, Lent Madness is really about being inspired by the ways in which God has worked through the lives of saintly souls across the generations.

Based loosely on the NCAA basketball tournament, this unique competition pits saints against one another in a single-elimination bracket as voters choose their favorites throughout the penitential season of Lent.

Lent Madness began in 2010 as the brainchild of the Rev. Tim Schenck, an Episcopal priest and rector of St. John’s Church in Hingham, Massachusetts. In seeking a fun, engaging way for people to learn about the men and women who make up the church’s calendar of saints, Schenck came up with this unique Lenten devotion. Combining his love of sports with his passion for the lives of the saints, Lent Madness was born.

Starting in 2012, Schenck partnered with Forward Movement (the same folks that publish Forward Day by Day) executive director Scott Gunn, to bring Lent Madness to the masses. Schenck and Gunn form the self-appointed Supreme Executive Committee, a more-or-less benevolent dictatorship that runs the entire operation. The formula has worked as this online devotional has been featured in media outlets all over the country including national television, the Washington Post, NPR, USAToday, and even Sports Illustrated (seriously).

Here’s how to participate: on the weekdays of Lent, information is posted at about two different saints. Each pairing remains open for 24 hours as participants read about and then vote to determine which saint moves on to the next round. Sixteen saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Faithful Four; two to the Championship; and the winner is awarded the coveted Golden Halo.

The first round consists of basic biographical information about each of the 32 saints. Things get a bit more interesting in the subsequent rounds as we offer quotes and quirks, explore legends, and even move into the area of saintly kitsch.

This year Lent Madness features an intriguing slate of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical. The 2016 heavyweights include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Clare of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Sojourner Truth, Joseph, and Albert Schweitzer. The full bracket is online at the Lent Madness website.

This all kicks off on “Ash Thursday,” February 11. To participate, visit the Lent Madness website, where you can also print out a bracket to see how you fare or “compete” against friends and family members. Like that other March tournament, there will be drama and intrigue, upsets and thrashings, last-minute victories and Cinderellas.

Eleven “celebrity bloggers” from across the country have been tapped to write for the project: the Rev. Amber Belldene of San Francisco, CA; the Rev. Laurie Brock of Lexington, KY; Anna Fitch Courie of Ft. Leavenworth, KS; Dr. David Creech of Morehead, MN; the Rev. Megan Castellan of Kansas City, MO; Neva Rae Fox of Somerville, NJ; the Rev. David Hansen of Woodlands, TX; Beth Lewis of Minneapolis, MN; Hugo Olaiz of Cincinnati, OH; Dr. Derek Olsen of Baltimore, MD; and the Rev. David Sibley of Manhasset, NY. Information about each of the celebrity bloggers and the rest of the team is available on the Lent Madness website.

If you’re looking for a Lenten discipline that is fun, educational, occasionally goofy, and always joyful, join the Lent Madness journey. Lent needn’t be all doom and gloom. After all, what could be more joyful than a season specifically set aside to get closer to Jesus Christ?

Read More
Accepting Nominations!

nominations-openNominations for next year’s field of 32 saints are now being accepted by the Supreme Executive Committee. Yes, for the next week we invite you to revel in the joyful, anticipatory Season of Nominationtide.

But before we get to the main attraction, we encourage you to visit the Lentorium. You can prove your love for Lent Madness by loading up on Lent Madness merchandise, including the ubiquitous Lent Madness mug featuring 2015 Golden Halo winner Francis of Assisi, the novel pint glass featuring Silver Halo winner Brigid of Kildare, or the de rigeur purple Lent Madness t-shirt.

And now, on to the main event: the call for nominations for Lent Madness 2016!

As always, we seek to put together a balanced bracket of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical representing the breadth and diversity of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Inevitably, some will disagree with certain match-ups or be disappointed that their favorite saint didn’t end up in the official bracket. If you find yourself muttering invective against the SEC, we implore you to take a deep cleansing breath. Remember, there’s always Lent Madness 2034.

While the SEC remains responsible for the formation of the final bracket, we encourage your participation in the nominating process. As in past years, we might even listen to some of your suggestions.

As you discern saints to nominate, please keep in mind that a number of saints are ineligible for next year’s “saintly smack down.” This includes previous Golden Halo winners, the entire field of Lent Madness 2015, those saints who made it to the Round of the Elate Eight in 2014 and 2013, and those from the 2012 Faithful Four. Here is a comprehensive list of ineligible saints. Please keep this in mind as you submit your nominations — which you can do ONLY by leaving a comment on this post. Did we mention that the only way to make a nomination for Lent Madness 2016 is to leave a comment on this post?

Also, please note that the saints you nominate should be in the sanctoral calendar of one or more churches. We’re open minded. To a point.

Remember that when it comes to saints in Lent Madness, many are called yet few are chosen (by the SEC). So leave a comment below with your (eligible) nomination!

Past Golden Halo Winners (ineligible)
George Herbert, C.S. Lewis, Mary Magdalene, Frances Perkins, Charles Wesley, Francis of Assisi

The Field from 2015 (all ineligible)
Gregory the Illuminator 
Brendan the Navigator
John Keble
Francis of Assisi
John Wycliffe
Bernard Mizecki
Margaret of Antioch
Margery Kempe
Jackson Kemper
Molly Brant
Juan Diego
Frederick Douglass
Thomas Ken
Dionysius the Great
Irene the Great
Brigid of Kildare
William Laud
Teresa of Avila
David Oakerhater

From 2012 — 2014 (ineligible)
Basil the Great
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Bedell
Anna Cooper
Phillips Brooks
Julia Chester Emery
Jonathan Daniels
Hilda of Whitby
Dorothy Day
Li-Tim Oi
Oscar Romero
Emma of Hawaii
Margaret of Scotland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

After a mysterious process of bracket discernment at the upcoming SEC Retreat, the 2016 Bracket will be released on All Brackets Day, November 3, 2015. You have until Ascension Thursday, May 14, to make your nomination. In other words, your time is up when Jesus goes up.

For now, we wish you a joyous Nominationtide.


Thanks for your nominations! Nominations for Lent Madness 2016 are now closed. But stay tuned - All Brackets Day, and the grand unveiling of next year's bracket -  is November 3.

Read More
The "Other" March Madness

cbs-sports-2015Here at Lent Madness HQ, we take brackets seriously. Thus when someone alerted us to the fact that there is some other bracket-style tournament that takes place in March, we thought we'd better take a look. What follows is the Official Lent Madness Bracket Analysis For Tournaments Taking Place During March That Do Not Involve Saints.

When you examine the NCAA basketball tournament from a saintly hermeneutic (which is a $500 theological word that young preachers should never, ever, under any circumstances use in a sermon), three categories emerge: The Obvious, The Perhaps, and The Give Me A Break.


Let's start with The Obvious. Here are the teams encompassing overt saintly references. You can't deny the influence of the holy when looking at these teams:

St. John's University (Red Storm) -- The only question is which St. John. The Baptizer? The Evangelist? Of the Cross? They get additional points for the allusion to Pentecost in their nickname.

Providence College (Friars) -- The school moniker is a synonym for heaven. Plus they get extra credit for invoking Providencethe image of Friar Tuck.

Notre Dame (Fighting Irish) -- Any team named for Our Lady is "obvious." Too bad there are no "Hail Mary" plays in basketball. The word "Fighting" is lamentable but Celtic saints (Brigid of Kildare this year) often do very well in Lent Madness so it balances out.

San Diego State (Aztecs) -- The city is actually named for the 15th century Spaniard holy man San Diego of Alcala, not Juan Diego who made the 2015 Lent Madness bracket. Alas.

Xavier University (Musketeers) -- This institution is named for St. Francis Xavier, the Spanish Jesuit who was co-founder of the Society of Jesus.

Southern Methodist University (Mustangs) -- When you put "Methodist" in the name, you are clearly a religious institution. Plus, Charles Wesley is a former Golden Halo winner.

Villanova University (Wildcats) -- Named for Saint Thomas Villanova, 16th century Spanish friar.


Schools in The Perhaps category may have some redeeming saintly qualities. Or perhaps not:

North Carolina (Tar Heels) -- The Carolinas (north and south) were named for Charles I or England (Carolus is Latin for Charles). While Charles is commemorated by some Anglicans as Charles the Martyr, he is not on the official calendar of the Episcopal Church. His Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, however was defeated in the first round of Lent Madness 2015 by Kamehameha.

North Carolina State (Wolfpack) -- See above.

Coastal Carolina (Chanticleers) -- See above. BUT they get points for having a mascot that is associated with the thrice-denying apostle Peter. Also, what's up with so many teams from North Carolina?!

Valparaiso University (Crusaders) --  If nothing else, they get the award for the most un-politically correct mascotvalpo name. "Onward, Christian soldiers!"

University of Louisville (Cardinals) -- The city in Kentucky is not named for St. Louis the IX of France. No, it's named for Louis XVI -- who is not a saint. HOWEVER the mascot is named for an ecclesiastical order of the Roman Catholic Church.

Virginia Commonwealth (Rams) -- At first glance, the VCU mascot would be more at home in Los Angeles or St. Louis where the NFL team of the same name once resided and currently resides. HOWEVER the team is named for the animal caught in the thicket after God tells Abraham to stop the presses and not sacrifice his son Isaac after all.

Eastern Washington (Eagles) -- They get points because they named their mascot after the symbol of the Fourth Evangelist.


Teams falling under The Give Me a Break rubric shouldn't be listed here at all. Yet here they are:

Maryland (Terps) -- This would be listed under "The Obvious" except that the state is not actually named for the Virgin Mary. Rather for King Charles I of England's wife Queen Henrietta Maria (Queen Mary).

Virginia (Cavaliers) -- Ditto. Virginia was not named for the Virgin Mary but for the Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen."

Louisiana State University (Tigers) -- Not named for St. Louis (who once appeared in Lent Madness) but rather Louis XIV or France.

Kentucky University (Wildcats) -- Contrary to popular belief, Kentucky was not named for Lent Madness 2015 participant Thomas Ken.

Georgetown University (Hoyas) -- Named for neither St. George nor his dragon nor former Golden Halo winner George Herbert, nor Scott's dog George. Rather Georgetown is named for either George II of England or the town's two founders -- both named George.

dukeDuke University (Blue Devils) -- It doesn't matter how many games or titles Coach K has won. Your team is named after (a blue-tinted plural version of) Satan.

If your Lent Madness bracket has been hopeless busted, you may well decide to fill out the "other" bracket. Go ahead. And if you enter an office pool, we definitely suggest you use this analysis to decide all your picks. Or at least invoke St. Matthias, the unofficial patron saint of gambling (he was chosen to be an apostle by the casting of lots).

Read More
We're baaaaaaaaaack...

Dear Lent Madness Faithful,

Early this morning, at about 8:20 am EST, the Lent Madness website went down. You probably heard the collective weeping and shutterstock_52411522-arc-between-cut-wires-1-Croppedgnashing of teeth that rang out all over the globe. Or you may have noticed the uptick in purple votive candle sales that impacted the international markets.

After a lot of hard work, we are pleased to announce that the saintly smackdown is back up and running. Scott and Celebrity Blogger David Sibley (hard core technophiles) were able to remedy the presenting issue. This was particularly impressive since Scott is currently in Rwanda on a pilgrimage with Episcopal Migration Ministries. Also, when it comes to technical fixes, Tim is useless.

Our (soon to be former) hosting company 1and1 shut the site down due to high volume without giving us any notice. The good news is that we are provisionally back up and running and you can now go vote in today’s matchup between Balthazar and Cecilia. . The bad news is that we will need to shut the site down again to switch servers (hopefully on Sunday so it won’t affect voting). We’ll keep you posted.

Update 11:13 PM EST: Because of the high server load, things continue to be quite slow and a bit dicey - but voting is open, and votes are being recorded. Our advice: keep trying to vote!

In order to give both Balthazar and Cecilia their due. We are extending the voting period until tomorrow (Saturday) at 2:00 pm EST.  Then the polls will close and all will be right with the world. For the time being.

Now, to assign blame. That’s the Christian thing to do, right? We have several working theories:

Read More
A Peek Behind the Purple Curtain

nyc_st_luke_fieldsThe Church of St. Luke in the Fields is an historic parish not in rural Iowa as the name would imply, but in the heart of Greenwich Village. That would be in Manhattan, New York City, not Manhattan, Kansas, just to be clear.

This year they're engaging in Lent Madness full bore on their parish blog. As every parish should.

But the folks at SLITF (no clue if that's the acronym they use but we like it) have gotten quite creative in the process. They're actually inviting parishioners to vote twice in each battle -- not in a voter fraud kind of way because then they'd all be banned from Lent Madness and this would quickly turn into a rather awkward post -- but once on our website and once on their blog. The idea is to fully participate with all of us but then to see which saints their own parishioners are supporting. We're not sure what they'll do with the information once it's collected but presumably the NSA is watching and keeping tabs on this subversive activity.

As part of their Lenten hype, they asked Tim to write something Lent Madness-y. So, ladies and gentlemen, prepare for a peek behind the Purple Curtain as Tim reveals what goes into the formation of the Lent Madness bracket.

Lenten Reflection
A Peek Behind the Purple Curtain of Lent Madness

People often ask me, “How do you choose the saints for Lent Madness?” It’s a good question – one that I’ve wrestled with since Purple-Curtainsstarting this “madness” on a whim in 2010.

I’d love to tell you that it’s entirely the work of the Holy Spirit and not just my trusty Ouija Board. Actually the process has evolved a bit over time. The first couple of years, back when I hosted it on my blog, I really did just go through Lesser Feasts and Fasts and pick 32 saints with good stories I thought people should know about.

In 2012 when I decided to partner with my online archnemesis, Scott Gunn, the executive director of Forward Movement, we collaborated and tried to be a bit more intentional about the choices. We always seek a diverse group of saints Biblical and modern, ecclesiastical and monastic, famous and obscure and I think we’ve done a pretty good job over the years.

For the last couple of brackets, we’ve solicited nominations from the general Lent Madness public sometime during Eastertide. I wouldn’t call it a “democratic” process since Scott and I still make up the (mostly benign) dictatorship that is the Supreme Executive Committee and have the final say. But each year a number of nominated saints do make it into the bracket.

Being into our sixth year, people also wonder if saints are ever eligible to make a return appearance. You know, if they were prematurely “martyred” in the early rounds. The answer is yes and no. Saints who went deep into the tournament the last few years are ineligible and previous Golden Halo winners are permanently retired from the competition. The whole idea is to give other saints a chance at Lenten glory (not that they need it) while allowing participants to learn about a whole new crop of saints.

So there you go. For the first time, the process of saintly selection has been fully revealed. Now go vote!

Read More
1 2 3 20


* indicates required

Recent Posts