Forward Movement has just announced the bracket for the 2017 Lent Madness! The official release:
For months, the world has been following the news of early November’s competitive election. Today, in response to that demand, the Lent Madness 2017 bracket of saints is hereby released. Democracy meets heaven, as fans around the world study the bracket to decide which of 32 saints will be elected to receive the Golden Halo.
For the eighth year running, people worldwide are gearing up for Lent Madness, the “saintly smackdown” in which 32 saints do battle to win the coveted Golden Halo. This all kicks off on “Ash Thursday,” March 2, but with the bracket release rabid fans of the saints are already picking this year’s favorites.
The bracket is released every year on All Brackets’ Day, November 3rd. This momentous day in the Church Year follows All Saints’ Day (11/1) and All Souls’ Day (11/2) to complete this early November trinity of feast days.
In response to a question about why people should think about Lent in November, Lent Madness creator, the Rev. Tim Schenck, says, “Hey, if people can drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes in August, they can surely deal with Lent in November. Plus it’s either getting jazzed about saints, or dealing with a bunch of depressing politics. So you’re welcome for the gift of frenzied speculation and anticipation as we look toward the season of Lent (Madness).”
The Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, executive director of Forward Movement and Schenck’s Lent Madness co-conspirator, agrees. “We’ve had plenty of focus on sinners in the news lately, so here’s a chance to look at some saints. Sure, all the saints were flawed, too, but we get to look at God’s love at work in their lives.”
This year Lent Madness features an intriguing slate of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical. 2017 heavyweights include Joan of Arc, Martin Luther, Florence Nightingale, Stephen the Martyr, and Sarah the Matriarch. It also includes several intriguing matchups including Augustine of Hippo vs. Augustine of Canterbury (All-Augustine Anarchy); Fanny Crosby vs. G.F. Handel (Battle of the Bands); and Joseph Schereschewsky vs. Nikolaus von Zinzendorf (Clash of the Consonants).
The full bracket is online at the Lent Madness website www.lentmadness.org.
New to Lent Madness? Here’s how it works: on the weekdays of Lent, information is posted at www.lentmadness.org 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 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.
For those seeking an advanced list of all 32 first round bios along with a personal full-color bracket, the Saintly Scorecard: The Definitive Guide to Lent Madness 2017 is available for pre-order now from Forward Movement.
Like that other March tournament, there will be drama and intrigue, upsets and thrashings, last-minute victories and Cinderellas. Unlike professional and collegiate sporting events, there is no admission cost for Lent Madness, but souvenirs are available in the “Lentorium” part of the Lent Madness website.
So let the saintly games begin! Well, in three months or so.
Photo below: Father Tim Schenck ceremonially burns last year’s bracket poster at Lent Madness’ annual retreat in Hingham, Massachusetts.