An extraordinary devotion to an ancient Christian woman martyr has broken out in a remote English valley – Rossendale in Lancashire. Local residents in the north end of the valley have named an area, and roads, after the saint whom they refer to as ‘St Aghill’. Hagiographical research suggests this is a local corruption of ‘St Aquila,’ a fourth century Egyptian martyr.
An unusual and particularly exciting find was recently made by Buddy the dog of local vicar, Revd Penelope. Speaking over delicious tea and cakes at the vicarage Revd Penelope said that while out exploring Buddy enthusiastically unearthed a statue hidden in the undergrowth.
The statue has been carefully examined and identified as being most probably ‘St Aghill.’ The find has caused great local excitement and reports of healing and unusual events are expected.
There is a popular cry for the statue to be brought into the church with celebration and ceremony, and for a shrine to be developed, or even for a ‘new church’ to be established.
The local Bishop, Bishop Alan, expressed his support saying This is very nice, and I am very pleased at what I have heard. The local Archdeacon the Venerable Claude Emmeroyd-Gaiters said I am informed that it is proposed to introduce a religious artefact into a churchyard or church within my jurisdiction. I emphasise that before this is done a faculty must be obtained. I repeat – a faculty. Rev Scott Tracey, diocesan minister for young adult males remarked I’m gonna get up the dale as soon as. This could be a fantastic project for alpha males, ( and their women supporters). I’ll be looking for high up sponsorship from the world of football, even Barcelona, – we could be looking at Messi Shrine.
Meanwhile, back at the Vicarage, Revd Penelope had invited a group of local parishioners to tea. They discussed whether Buddy could be trained to sniff out relics. However the conversation centred around the need for love, pastoral care, sensitivity and prayer in a struggling community. We are a caring community here, and we have our social problems Flo, an elderly person who has lived in the area all her life, with a twinkle in her eye, said: Whatever brings love, prayer, fun and hope among us is to be encouraged.
1st April 2017