Father George Takes to the Sky to Bless New Basilica Cross
On Thursday, November 16, community members and Saint Joseph Notre Dame faculty and students filled St. Joseph Basilica for a prayer service and blessing of the refurbished Tower Cross, which had sustained significant storm damage last spring.
The ceremony began with a prayer service led by Father George Alengadan, pastor of St. Joseph Basilica. Father George spoke about the rich history of both Alameda and St. Joseph Basilica, one of only a handful of basilicas, which are accorded special privileges by the Pope, in the state of California. He conveyed the power of the cross - a symbol of faith in times of trouble - and acknowledged the significance of St. Joseph Basilica’s cross, which before being taken down last spring, had been perched atop its belfry tower for over 90 years.
The service concluded with readings from SJND Principal Ken Jennings and Saint Joseph Elementary School Principal Dr. Marquita Yriarte, as well as songs sung by both schools.
Following the prayer service, attendees gathered outside for the blessing of the cross. Despite heavy rain, Father George, accompanied by cheers from the crowd, ascended to the top of the tower to unveil and bless the repaired cross, where it will stay - God willing - for decades to come.
On April 4, 2017, the Basilica Tower Cross was taken down after sustaining damage from last spring’s windstorms. During the evaluation of the damage to the cross, the professional craftspeople found that the cross is constructed completely of copper sheeting, including all the specialized detail. A new inner structure for the cross has been designed and installed, the old paint was stripped down and a new power coating of brilliant gold was put on it, and all seams have been re-welded to fully repair the cross.
Read more about the cross unveiling and blessing in the East Bay Times.