It’s hard to believe our Lent Madness journey is nearing its inevitable end. We kicked things off over five weeks ago on “Ash Thursday” with 32 saintly souls. With your help, the field has now been whittled down to just two: Franz Jägerstätter and Florence Nightingale. Who will be awarded the coveted 2017 Golden Halo? That, friends, is up to you.
Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we’ve met some truly remarkable holy people along the way. Perhaps you learned about some folks you’d never heard of or maybe you renewed acquaintances with saints who have long offered inspiration. Of course the entire notion of placing saints in a bracket is absurd — each “contestant” has already earned a crown of righteousness in addition to a “golden halo.” But at the heart of Lent Madness is the abiding conviction that encountering those who have come before us in the faith enriches and enlivens our own walk with the risen Christ.
In the process of this whimsical Lenten devotion we’ve all made some new online friends, encountered a community of believers who take their faith but not themselves too seriously, learned some things, were inspired by saintly witnesses, and hopefully had some fun along the way.
Of course we literally couldn’t have done this without our amazing Celebrity Bloggers to whom we offer sincere gratitude: Amber Belldene, Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, Anna Courie, David Creech, Neva Rae Fox, David Hansen, Beth Lewis, Hugo Olais, Derek Olsen, and David Sibley. Thanks to Bracket Czar Adam Thomas for his stellar behind-the-scenes work in keeping the bracket updated daily. You all rock!
A special shout-out to Sister Diane Doncaster, of the Society of the Transfiguration, who kept us humming our favorite hymns throughout the season with her brilliant daily musical offerings based on the saintly pairings.
Thank you to everyone at Forward Movement for putting up with our shenanigans and producing a terrific Saintly Scorecard this year.
Finally, thanks to all of you who participated by voting, commenting, drinking coffee out of Lent Madness mugs, filling in brackets, talking about saints at coffee hour, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter, and allowing us to play a small role in your Lenten journey. We’ve loved having each one of you along for the “madness” and on behalf of the Supreme Executive Committee we wish you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.
Oh, wait, there’s one more thing before we set our face toward the Triduum. But first we should note that David Hansen has ably shepherded Franz Jägerstätter through the brackets while Anna Courie has done the same for Florence Nightingale. We’ve asked them for a single image and one quote. We’ve already heard a lot about them and from them — click the bracket tab and scroll down to view their previous match-ups if you want to refresh your memory. And then, it’s time to make your choice in the Fantastic Battle of the F’s. Will it be the umlauts or the lamp?
The polls will be open for 24 hours and the winner will be announced at 8:00 am Eastern time on Maundy Thursday. Now go cast your vote — the 2017 Lent Madness Golden Halo hangs in the balance!
“God’s love for us human beings is so great that we can never comprehend it with our human understanding. Although we often offend him and even seriously offend him, God still persistently loves us. Otherwise, God would not time and again forgive us. Could you imagine a greater love? … Therefore, love of our neighbors is the greatest act of gratitude that we can show God for his love.”
— Franz Jägerstätter
“A human being does not cease to exist at death.
It is change, not destruction, which takes place.”
— Florence Nightingale