Aloysius Gonzaga vs. Thomas of Villanova

Happy Friday! The first full week of Lent Madness 2022 is nearly complete. Today we head back up to Confusion Corner as Aloysius Gonzaga tips off against Thomas of Villanova. If you're not a college basketball fan, this matchup may well seem rather confusing. Then again, if you're not a college basketball fan, the whole idea of a bracket competition may have initially been confusing.

Yesterday, Columbanus revved his way past Drogo 53% to 47% to secure a spot in the Saintly Sixteen against Madeleine Sophie Barat.

Enjoy your weekend. We realize that Lent Madness Withdrawal (LMW) is a real thing and we assure you of our...thoughts and prayers. But we'll be back at it first thing Monday morning as Perpetua takes on Cecilia. Go vote!


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Columbanus vs. Drogo

In today's Saintly Smackdown matchup we have Columbanus vs. Drogo. 6th century Irish monk and missionary against a 12th century Flemish saint. Patron saint of motorcyclists vs. patron saint of coffee (not that these two things are mutually exclusive).

Yesterday, Theodore James Holly defeated Lydia 63% to 37%. He'll face Kateri Tekakwitha in the Saintly Sixteen.

But on to today's vote!


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James Theodore Holly vs. Lydia

Today, James Theodore Holly, the first African American bishop in the Episcopal Church faces the Biblical Lydia of Thyatira. Some fascinating saintly info in this matchup!

In yesterday's battle, Teresa of Avila swept past Crispin 61% to 39% to set up a showdown with Stephen in the Saintly Sixteen. This marks the first completed Saintly Sixteen pairing.

By the way, if you're looking for an updated version of the bracket with the winners-to-date filled in, our Bracket Czar Adam Thomas updates it each day on the Bracket Tab. He also shares results on the Lent Madness Twitter feed every morning in his inimitable style. You might even say he...puntificates.


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Teresa of Avila vs. Crispin

Welcome to Tuesday in the first full week of Lent Madness action. Today Teresa of Avila takes on Crispin. Medieval mystic vs. 3rd century martyr.

Yesterday, amid some early voting trials and tribulations, Hilary of Poitiers handily defeated Melania the Elder 61% to 39%. Perhaps no one was surprised voting was an issue in a matchup between Melania and Hilary?

In case you missed yesterday's world-changing episode of Monday Madness, you can watch it here. Tim and Scott address the voting issue, while reminding everyone that universal suffrage is a God-given right. As long as only one vote is involved.


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Monday Madness -- March 7, 2022

Tim and Scott are back with an all new, highly informative, and action-packed episode of Monday Madness. This week, they talk about how cheating at Lent Madness can ruin the fun for everyone. They also address the difficulty some had voting early on in today's matchup between Melania the Elder and Hilary of Poitiers (all is once again right with the world). Remember, everyone gets a vote, but one vote only! Not the 600 illegal votes one person tried to cast for Wenceslaus on Opening Day...

Today marks the official launch of Scott's latest book, Easter Triumph, Easter Joy: Meditations for the Fifty Days of Eastertide. If the glum news of the world gets you down, this book might be just the thing to remember our ultimate hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The book is available from Forward Movement, Amazon, and other places. There's an ebook, too.

Of course, it wouldn't be fair to highlight just one member of the SEC's books! Tim reminds us that his latest book will be a sure page-turner as it caffeinates and inspires you. Get yourself of a copy of Holy Grounds: The Surprising Connection between Coffee and Faith - From Dancing Goats to Satan's Drink (ebook here).

Last, but not least, there's a shout-out for some Lent Madness enthusiasts among the Lutheran faithful of the Twin Cities at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church. Check out Pastor Tim's video. If your church -- whatever your denomination! -- loves Lent Madness, please send us photos or videos and we'd love to give you a shout-out, too.


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Melania the Elder vs. Hilary of Poitiers

Welcome back! We hope you're ready for the first full week of Lent Madness action. Today, we head up to the Confusion Corner quadrant of the bracket as Melania the Elder faces Hilary of Poitiers. What's not confusing is that both of our contestants come to us via the 4th century. Spanish nun vs. French bishop.

On Saturday, Madeleine Sophie Barat slipped past Mesrop Mashtots 53% to 47%. We also test drove a new voting system which most, but not everyone, was able to successfully navigate. Thanks to everyone for your forbearance as we seek to balance security with ease of voting. With some tweaks, it should be smoother today.

Now back to voting!


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Mesrop Mashtots v. Madeleine Sophie Barat

Welcome to the first and only Saturday matchup of Lent Madness 2022. Today Mesrop Mashtots faces off against Madeleine Sophie Barat. And, yes, that's Barat not Borat -- that's something else entirely. Haven't heard of these two saints? Meeting some new spiritual companions is, of course, one of the joys of Lent Madness.

Yesterday Kateri Tekakwitha trounced Olaf 72% to 28% to advance to the next round.

We're testing out a new even-more-secure voting system today, so casting your vote will look sightly different. But fear not! We still support universal (one vote) suffrage.

Enjoy the First Sunday in Lent tomorrow (make sure to talk about Lent Madness with all your friends at coffee hour) and we'll look forward to seeing everyone back here first thing Monday morning as Hilary of Poitiers faces Melania the Elder. Now go exercise your God-given right to vote (once) in Lent Madness!


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Stephen vs. Wenceslaus

Welcome to the opening matchup of Lent Madness 2022! If you’re joining us for the first time, we’re delighted you’re along for this wild, saintly ride. If you’re curious about what this all entails, check out the About Lent Madness tab on the website.

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.

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 2022 Matchup Calendar. And if you'd like to see all 32 saints (plus Tim and Scott) 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 that may just leave you humming a certain Christmas carol, as Stephen faces off against Wenceslaus. Friends, it's time to cast your very first vote of Lent Madness 2022! We’re glad you’re all here. Now get to it!


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Happy Lent Madness Eve!

As the whole world trembles in anticipation on Lent Madness Eve, we wanted to share two items. The first is an incredible video created by our friends at St. James Cathedral in South Bend, Indiana, featuring all 32 saints (plus Tim and Scott) represented as peg dolls. These dolls were lovingly hand painted by members of the congregation.

We also share a brief bedtime story to read to the children of all ages in your home. Enjoy! And we'll see you all for our first vote of Lent Madness 2022 right here on this site at 8:00 am Eastern. Happy Lent!

The Night Before Lent Madness

'Twas the night before Lent Madness, and throughout the whole Church
the Lent Madness faithful, were doing saintly research.

The brackets were hung in the parish hall with care
in hopes that Lent Madness soon would be there.

Parishioners were nestled all snug in their beds
while visions of halos danced in their heads.

As Tim drank his coffee and Scott had his too
plotting shenanigans as they so often do.

When out in the Lent Dome there arose such a clatter
the Celebrity Bloggers sprang up to see what was the matter.

It was the clash of some martyrs or maybe a mystic
The SEC in its matchups can be so sadistic.

“Lent Madness isn’t fair!” some were heard crying
“Saints competing -- it's just so horrifying!”

When what to our wondering eyes should appear
But 32 saints hoping the others would just disappear.

Now Hilda! Now Olaf!
Now Constance of Memphis!
On Stephen! On Origen!
On Thomas Aquinas!

To the Golden Halo!
To the holiest of all!
Now go for the prize!
Play saintly hardball!

As the Lent Madness crowd prepares for a vote
we hope this all doesn't get too cutthroat.

With Lent now upon us, we're feeling contrite
Happy Lent to all, and to all a blessed night.

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An Invitation to a Holy Lent

Dear friends in Christ,

woman receiving ashesOn Ash Wednesday every year, we set aside our usual silliness and frivolity as we begin the holy journey of Lent. Our fervent hope is that you will, if possible, find a way to receive the imposition of ashes today. This gritty reminder of our mortality is an important part of the earthly pilgrimage for those of us who follow Jesus.

This year, it may seem incongruous to play Lent Madness. Headlines are filled with news of a powerful nation seeking to use might to exert its will over an unwilling people. Here in the USA, people of all political persuasions can at least agree that our political system is broken. Social, racial, and economic divisions run rampant. Is there room for a silly approach to Lent?

As always, we remind you that Lent Madness is optional. If this is a year you decide to take off from the festivities, we understand. But maybe you, like us, crave the reminder that Lent Madness brings.

Amidst all the silliness, Lent Madness reminds us that God does extraordinary things in the lives of ordinary people. People of all sorts and conditions can be bearers of Christ's light in the world if they but open themselves up to God's transforming grace. When you play Lent Madness, you are constantly shown the imperfect but yet inspiring lives of people from many cultures, nations, and eras.

If Christ's light can burn brightly in their hearts, might there be room for Jesus Christ to shine from our lives?

Lent is our opportunity to reorient. We are given the gift of a whole season to turn away from the allure of worldly things and toward eternal things. We are invited to reject fear, hatred, judgment, and scorekeeping and to choose hope, love, mercy, and grace.

Whether you seek Christ's light in the scriptures, in prayer, in fasting, or even in Lent Madness, we hope you have a holy and blessed Lenten journey.

Tim+        Scott+

The Supreme Executive Committee

Image from flickr user John Ragai.

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