Lent Madness


One reality about the Church Year is that Lent usually overlaps with March. Now March is one of my least favorite months of the year. It has less to do with the weather (though admittedly that can be a drag) and everything to do with being in-between football and baseball seasons. I just can’t get into the NBA, hockey does nothing for me, and even though I can read about Spring Training — it’s hard for a priest to get away during Lent and take off for Florida’s Grapefruit League.

What we’re left with is March Madness. For those of you born either on Mars or in Europe, March Madness is the college basketball tournament that culminates in the crowning of the National Champion. With four brackets, 64 seeded teams, and a single elimination format, it’s an exciting couple of weeks that helps bridge the gap to Opening Day.

The fact that the word “Lent” derives from the Germanic root for Spring and was also the Anglo-Saxon name for March — lenct — means there’s no reason that we can’t engage in a parallel “Lent Madness.” Here’s how it will work. There will be 32 saints signed up for the tournament. Each day I’ll print some information about two of them and then we’ll take a vote. We’ll continue Lent Madness until we have crowned a saintly champion. Hopefully we’ll all learn a bit more about a few saints in the process. If your favorite saint isn’t included, fear not. If this works out well we can make this an annual event. If it’s a disaster, we can forget it ever happened.

This year, with only 32 to choose from, we’ll have an assortment of saints ranging from the Biblical to the ecclesiastical. You can look for a wide cross section of saints you’d probably never, ever lump together. What they all have in common, of course, is a unique and single-minded approach to serving the risen Christ. And the will to win. Finally we’ll be able to answer such critical questions as: Cuthbert vs. Bede — cut throat or strung up? And Mary vs. Martha — the ultimate cat fight?

So prepare yourselves for a saintly smackdown. I’m still working out the details but the bracket will soon be released. Each “competition” will include a poll where voting will be open for 24 hours before a winner is declared. During the first round, two saints will go head-to-head each day. Subsequent rounds will be one day/one vote until we crown the saintly champion of Lent Madness 2010. Not sure what the prize will be — gold halos seem redundant.

Sure, it’s slightly irreverent. But that’s what Lent Madness is all about.



4 Comments on “Lent Madness”

  1. Maureen Lyons says:


  2. Thanks, Tim! These are awesome, keep ’em coming.

    Are you in MA Diocese or Western?

    Best wishes to you from Houston, TX.

  3. Philip says:

    So…. Can we suggest Modern Day Saints that haven’t been cannonized yet? I was thinking along the line of Kierkegaard, C.S.Lewis, and potentially Thomas Merton….

    Thanks! Looking forward to the Bracket!

  4. Father Tim says:

    Thanks, Elaine! And I’m in the regular, old Diocese of Massachusetts. Hingham is on the South Shore of Boston, 20 miles from the city.

    Well, Philip, this year’s bracket is done. I’m open to suggestions if we do it next year. Anyone on the church calendar is fair game!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s