Lent Madness 2011

As February turns to March and the Season after the Epiphany turns to Lent and the eyes of America turn toward college hoops we are reminded that a matter of great import must be settled. Friends, it’s time for the second annual saintly smackdown. Welcome to Lent Madness 2011.

Just as it was last year, 32 saints from the Episcopal Church Calendar are preparing to face off against one another for the coveted “Golden Halo.” Last year George Herbert pulled off an upset in the finals against Julian of Norwich to claim the illustrious title — click here to view last year’s final bracket.

To win in 2011 will take grit, determination, holiness, and perhaps some good old-fashioned ballot stuffing (this is discouraged, of course) to claim the hallowed crown. Lent Madness 2011 features an entirely new slate of saints ancient and modern, Biblical and ecclesiastical. So if your favorite saint didn’t make it into the tournament last year you might just be in luck. And if not? Your favorite saint may be pretty lame. Better luck next year.

Click to view the complete bracket for Lent Madness 2011. Who are the early favorites? Who are the cinderellas? Call your bookie and then watch this space and prepare to vote. Throughout this holy season you will find matchups as the field moves from the First Round to the Saintly Sixteen to the Elate Eight to the Final Four. Only one saint will prevail; the rest will taste the bitter agony of defeat. Which, if they were martyred in the first place, merely adds insult to injury.

Logistically, here’s how this will work: As each pairing is posted, voting will be open for at least 24 hours so you’ll have plenty of time to get your votes in — and encourage your friends, family members, and even your enemies (whom we’re supposed to love anyway) to participate. Once the voting is closed, the winner moves on and the next pairing will be posted. This will continue until the 32 saints have been whittled down to one (which better happen before Holy Week begins or I’m hosed!).

The initial matchup, which will be posted on “Ash Thursday” next week, will feature two early church bishops and martyrs: Polycarp vs. Cyprian.

While we’ll undoubtedly have some fun with this, I also hope that by the end of Lent you will have learned a few things about a wide cross-section of saints. Some you’ve heard of while others may be new to you. What they all have in common, of course, is a unique and single-minded approach to serving the risen Christ.

Blessings to you all for a holy Lent and may the “best” saint win!

7 Comments on “Lent Madness 2011”

  1. Lane Hensley says:

    Of course, Tim, the buzz in the heavenly locker room is all about whether newly designated saints appearing in Holy Women, Holy Men will be appearing in the lineup. Traditionalists say no, but others want to see fresh faces like controversial figure Richard Baxter. It’s anybody’s guess in this exciting countdown to the Holy of Holies. Back to you, Tim.

  2. The Virtual Abbey says:

    Already I’m outraged by the obvious — to me — inequities in the line-up. CS Lewis? Why? Because Anthony Hopkins played him in the movie? You need more women and surely you — or someone — could dredge up a LGBT saint, or reveal one as such.

  3. Ok, that previous comment? That does not represent the views of the Virtual Abbey — although I’m guessing a slew of members would agree. I also know that a slew of members would not. The Abbess was multi-tasking. Mea mongo culpa.

  4. Lydia says:

    Go Julian go!

  5. Bob Chapman says:

    Looking for a LGBT saint? Didn’t I see David listed? Anyone man saying that Jonathan’s love is better than the love of women would at least be granted honorary membership as a Friend of Dorothy.

    Any Disco Queen dancing nude before the Ark of the Covenant would remove any doubt.

    Do I have to look at the rest of the brackets to see if there are any more?

  6. Saint A says:

    Um, Aelred’s not too subtle on LGBT issues.

  7. Bob Chapman says:

    I didn’t know there were transgendered people when Aelred lived.

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