This past Sunday, April 23rd, churchgoers at England’s Worcester Cathedral were treated to an unusually fragrant and spiky service. To kick off the annual Asparagus Festival, the church decided to dedicate a few minutes of mass to a ceremonial blessing of this unique vegetable.

During the ceremony, a man in a suit and tie carried a bundle of the vegetable to the front of the church, the Telegraph reports. He was followed by Gus the Asparagus Man—a man costumed as a spear of asparagus, and a frequent sight at Asparagus Festival events—and someone dressed up as St. George, shield and all. The cathedral’s Precentor then blessed the crop.

Not everyone was happy. “This is an absurd pantomime-type scene that makes a mockery of Christian worship,” the leader of one lobbyist group told the Telegraph. A popular religious blogger took the trend to what he said was its natural conclusion: “Where’s the sprout liturgy, or equality for mushrooms? Would the Dean really permit a walking fungus to participate in an act of divine worship?”

The festival’s co-founder, Angela Tidmarsh, was pleased, though. ‘We had the asparagus blessed by the vicar of Bretforton and then we took it to the cathedral,” she told the Telegraph. “So it’s twice-blessed asparagus.”

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