Not Your Grandfather’s Lenten Devotion
How could you not love a Lenten devotion that claims to begin on “Ash Thursday?” Lent Madness kicks off on February 23rd with 32 saints vying for the coveted Golden Halo.
Yes, it’s true. The third annual “saintly smackdown” places saints into a tournament-like single elimination bracket. I started Lent Madness on my blog as a fun, engaging way to teach people about the saints of the church. This year I’m partnering with Forward Movement to bring this unique devotion to the masses. Or at least to a bunch of people who take their faith, but not themselves, too seriously.
The way it works is each pairing remains open for a set period of time and people vote for their favorite saint. 16 saints make it to the Round of the Saintly Sixteen; eight advance to the Round of the Elate Eight; four make it to the Final 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’s heavyweights include Joan of Arc, the apostle Paul, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mary Magdalene, Thomas Merton, Catherine of Siena, Nicholas, Thomas Cranmer, and Augustine of Hippo.
Who will win the Golden Halo? Who knows? The unpredictability of Lent Madness is half the fun. Check out the full bracket here and log onto www.lentmadness.org for more information and to learn about this year’s “celebrity bloggers.” You can “play along” as an individual by voting online each day or you can spice things up by filling out a full bracket with your picks and competing with friends. And, of course, don’t forget to “like” Lent Madness on our Facebook fan page.
Let the games begin and may the “best” saint win!
Rev. Tim Schenk is an Episcopal priest and the Rector of Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Hingham, Massachusetts. He si the creative genius and driving force behind Lent Madness. You can find his thoughts on his blog at http://frtim.wordpress.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @FatherTim.