Hingham, Mass. Church Participates in 'Lent Madness' - NECN

Hingham, Mass. Church Participates in 'Lent Madness'



    In 40 days leading up to Easter, St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church participates in competition of 32 saints (Published Tuesday, April 1, 2014)


    (NECN: Josh Brogadir, Hingham, Mass.) - There are no hoops, no high tops and no pep bands here, but there is a bracket.

    Lent Madness has a a field of 32 and even its own media guide called the "Saintly Scorecard."

    Selection Sunday is every Sunday at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Hingham, Mass.

    The brackets are set.

    And before Father Tim Schenck drew up this year's field of 32, every entry in was already in the big dance.

    After all, they're saints.

    "Well, it's the saintly smackdown. We put 32 saints in a bracket and we have them go at it," Fr. Schenck said.

    It's the fifth annual Lent Madness, a head-to-head online competition of saints in the 40 days leading up to Easter.

    The draw will eventually get whittled down to a Saintly 16, a Faithful Four, then one Golden Halo winner.

    "What Lent Madness really tries to do is to take them out of the stained glass, and out of the statues, and put flesh and blood on these incredible, inspiring heroes of the faith," Fr. Schenck said.

    Out of the stained glass, and accessible online - Father Tim says the site LentMadness.org gets about 6000 votes a day across the country, Tuesday, pitting Cinderella against a top seed, Catherine of Alexandria against Catherine of Siena.

    A stranger to college hoops, but not to these pews, parishioner Amanda Beachus had never put pencil to office pool NCAA bracket before, much less during lent.

    "It really lightens it up, and it's something to learn every day. And I enjoy that," Beachus said.

    Devotion, learning, fun, but is Lent Madness a touch sacrilegious?

    "Whoever wins, who cares, really? Right, it's a way to learn about these people and to be inspired by their lives and we can take our faith seriously, but we don't have to take ourselves too seriously and that's one of the main points of lent madness," Fr. Schenck said.

    You too can fill out your bracket at LentMadness.org.

    Some churches around the country have their brackets set up to raise money for charity.

    And by the way, because I know you were wondering, the winners the last two years, were Frances Perkins and Mary Magdalene.