Church Madness 2017: Stunning 16

009 Stunning 16 Header

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Full BracketEast Regional (3/13)South Regional (3/14)Midwest Regional (3/15)West Regional (3/16)Theological 32 (3/19)Stunning 16 (3/22) • Ecclesiastical 8 (3/26) • Faithful 4 (3/30) • National Churchpionship (4/3)


Last round’s voting finally gave us what I’ve been secretly wishing for since last year: a St. Mary vs. St. Joseph showdown! The only thing better would be a St. Jerome vs. St. Ambrose battle royale.

In other news, all the matchups looked like tea parties compared to the brawl between USC’s Caruso Center and Nampa’s St. Paul. Look:

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 9.36.14 AM.png

By the way, you’re allowed to vote in more than one matchup. They’re all independent of each other so feel free to, you know, scroll down and check out the other churches.


I have to confess a small mistake. In this tournament, all polls are set to close at 11:59 pm. The good people of St. Paul’s asked me what time zone, and I said Central (where I live). I wrote the polls while traveling for work, and made a blunder on the time zones, so voting continued for several hours after the intended time.

I did, however, look at the results at midnight before going to bed, and St. Paul’s was winning by about 500 votes. I promise! I have the screenshots to prove it.

So, although it will seem like something out of the Vlad Putin Playbook to the USC folks, I have to award the victory to St. Paul’s. My condolences to the Caruso Center, who absolutely brought it for Church Madness. I’m sorry about the mix-up.


Updated bracket:

CM 2017 Bracket 16 THUMB


All polls really close Friday, March 24, at 11:59 pm Central Time. Click images for larger views.


“Rumble near the Jungle”

Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
Newark, New Jersey


St. Mary Church
Norwalk, Connecticut



“Trinitarian Throwdown”

Blessed Trinity Church
Buffalo, New York


Holy Trinity Church
Gainesville, Virginia




“A Deep South Donnybrook”

St. Patrick Church
New Orleans, Louisiana


St. Ann Church
Charlotte, North Carolina




Chapel of St. Basil at Univ. of St. Thomas
Houston, Texas

• Few good photos available for public use. Click here to see a great album on Flickr. • 


St. James Church
Louisville, Kentucky




“A Family Affair”
“The Holy Family Fracas”
“Bedlam in Bethlehem”

Basilica of St. Mary
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Chapel of St. Joseph at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri




St. Francis de Sales Oratory
St. Louis, Missouri


St. Bernard Church
Akron, Ohio





St. Augustine Cathedral
Tucson, Arizona


Sts. Peter and Paul Church
San Francisco, California




St. Paul Church
Nampa, Idaho


Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis Assisi
Santa Fe, New Mexico




    • Just thinking the same. It is a beautiful church! I’ve enjoyed discovering so many beautiful churches I’ve never seen and would love to visit.

  1. Two of the most beautiful churches I have been inside are the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in St. Louis, Missouri, and St. John Cantius in Chicago, Illinois. I think these were both included in your tournament in a previous year. Does that make them ineligible for future nomination?

    • Hi Paul, I agree! Both are truly fitting homes for Our Lord! You’re right that they were both featured last year. I want to showcase as many beautiful churches as I can in the U.S., so maybe someday I’ll start recycling churches but I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet. Thanks for reading!

      • I completely agree with Paul H. and suggest adding a match up category for previous winners. With the many new photos of St. John Cantius taken by visitors each year, there would be no need to duplicate any which were previously viewed.

  2. Next year, look at old St. Joseph parish in Gretna, LA…conplete with inner courtyard attaching church and rectory. Church is authentic and beautiful!

  3. Great pictures! Thank you for putting this together. This is the first time I’ve seen Church Madness, and I really enjoyed it. I was curious if you’d ever used the Shrine of the Little Flower, in Michigan?

    • Hi Cindy! Thanks so much! Glad you’re enjoying it. Yes, the Shrine of the Little Flower was featured in last year’s Church Madness!

  4. This is lots of fun.
    I am a joyful member of St. John Cantius Church in Chicago.
    Thank you for helping us to become the most beautiful church in America 2016!

    • Hi Lois, thanks for the kind words and for reading the blog! In truth, the credit goes to the Polish immigrants who built the church, the Canons who restored it, and the parishioners like you who support SJC’s important work. Thank YOU!

  5. Hi Patrick-

    How about planning for a “Battle of the Champions” in a few years? Even though I am confident that Saint John Cantius will win that competition, it would be interesting to see how others compare. Thanks for all your efforts, Patrick. In the meantime I suggest that viewers check out St. John Cantius’s website: Please pay attention to its music program too!

  6. Thanks for hsving my hometown parish of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Saint Paul, MN last year! Please consider looking into St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas, TX and St. Agnes in St. Paul, Minnesota for next year!

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