Feel the beat of your heart / Feel the wind in your face / It’s more than a contest / It’s more than a race…
Church Madness 2016
Introduction • Midwest Bracket (March 17) • East Bracket (March 18) • South Bracket (March 19) • West Bracket (March 20) · Sacred 64 Results (March 28) · Theological 32 (March 29) · Stunning 16 (April 4) • Ecclesiastical 8 (April 8) • Ferial 4 (April 11) · National Churchpionship (April 14) • “One Shining Moment” (April 17)
You sports fans out there know that the ultra-cheesy song One Shining Moment, sung by Luther Vandross, is played at the conclusion of each year’s NCAA Basketball championship, “March Madness.” Normally there’s an awesome montage of clips and highlights from the preceding weeks, and it’s a really great way to cap off the tournament. I thought it’d be funny to overlay the song with a slideshow of photos of the winning church.
Well, for legal and technical reasons, I can’t do any of that. So instead, hit play on this video as you read on.
With a total of 16,363 votes cast,
and separated by a mere 181 votes,
the winner of Church Madness 2016 is…
St. John Cantius Church
Sincere thanks to the Diocese of Salt Lake City / Cathedral of the Madeleine and the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, all of whom were completely amazing throughout this competition. Both of these groups do incredible work and deserve our prayerful support!
A few final thoughts:
HOLY COW, PEOPLE
When I started this little competition, we were getting about 10 views a day. I think 9 of them were from my mom. (Thanks, mom.) One thing led to another and then we were on the 6 pm news in Salt Lake City. I never expected this thing to take off the way it did, but in hindsight, maybe I should have. Our culture is starved for beauty. The very authentic and emotional response to all of these beautiful churches has been amazing, but not surprising. Thank you for all your voting, tweeting, Facebook sharing, and whatever else.
PARTY POOPERS NOT WELCOME
I got a few comments from some scrooges out there who said this competition was all about vanity and pride, and that Jesus is truly and wholly present in every Catholic church, so they’re all the same. The second point is quite right, of course, but I want to use my tiny soapbox to say that being a faithful Catholic does not need to be synonymous with being a party pooper all the time. It’s rough out there. We don’t need the friendly fire, especially not in comboxes for fake internet competitions.
CHURCH MADNESS 2017
I’ve received so many terrific suggestions and nominations for next year’s tournament. It’s going to be so difficult to narrow down the field, but I’ll do my best to spotlight a wide range of styles, sizes, locations, and everything else. The field will be announced on March 19, 2017. The feast of St. Joseph! Totally on purpose. (Note: This is also “Selection Sunday” for the real March Madness tournament.) Mark your calendars, set a reminder with Siri, etc.
Now that this year’s competition is over, we’ll be back to a regular schedule of more-or-less practical posts about art, architecture, and the liturgy. I hope you’ll stick around! For your convenience, here are a few recent posts I don’t hate:
Art History for Normal People: Rome: you’ll never look at concrete the same again.
Why do we use liturgical colors?: more than just “red for martyr’s blood,” etc.
“Turning the other cheek” redefined: a dual-faith church in rural Nebraska
The vicious circle: practical advice for priests and patrons of the arts
Spotlight on the National Shrine of the Little Flower: Art Deco overload near Detroit