Lent Madness Begins February 27.

Grit, determination, perseverance. These are the traits, along with the obvious one — holiness — that will be needed to win the 2018 Lent Madness Golden Halo. Based loosely on the NCAA basketball tournament, Lent Madness pits 32 saints against one another in a single-elimination bracket. It is also a wildly popular online devotional designed to help people learn about saints.

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 on his blog “Clergy Family Confidential.”

Starting in 2012, Schenck partnered with Forward Movement (the same folks that publish Forward Day by Day) executive director the Rev. Scott Gunn, and Lent Madness went viral, reaching over 50,000 people and getting mentioned in everything from the Washington Post to  USA Today, to Sports Illustrated (seriously).

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 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. It’s fun, it’s informative, it’s the saintly smack down!

This year Lent Madness features an intriguing slate of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical. The full bracket is online at the Lent Madness website. www.lentmadness.org

This all kicks off on “Ash Thursday,” February 27. To participate, see John Strobl, he will keep score of the brackets.  Cost for a bracket sheet & booklet is $10.00 each. Like that other March tournament, there will be drama and intrigue, upsets and thrashings, last-minute victories and Cinderellas.

How do I Play?

1. Pick up a blank 2020 bracket(s) from John Strobl or print it off the Lent Madness website www.lentmadness.org

2. Fill out your bracket sheet (or as many as you wish) with your picks (be sure to put your name on top!) Make a copy for yourself and submit a copy to John Strobl, the official parish Lent Madness Coordinator with your $10.00 entry fee (per Bracket Sheet & Booklet).  We need all entries by Ash Wednesday February 26.

3. The entry fee will be used for Kitchen Supplies (Pots, Pans etc.).  The final point winner will receive a VALUABLE Lent Madness Prize!!!

4. We will use a “simple” point system to decide the winner. To strike a balance between correctly picking early rounds and correctly guessing the winner, we’ll award 2 points for first round picks, 3 for second round picks, then 5, 8, and 13. This gives a total of 105 possible points, and the possible points from each round are 32, 24, 20, 16, and 13.

5. Our St. James’ Parish winner will be declared after the Golden Halo is awarded.

6. We will have a large bracket posted at St James’ for all to see, and we will list the leaders each Sunday.

Our Lent Madness guarantee: during Lent 2020, you will learn more about Saints, than you have ever known!

February 7th, 2020 by