ALAMEDA, Calif. - This Easter weekend, parishioners at an Alameda Catholic church will look up and not be able to see a familiar site that has stood there for 90 years.
The cross on top of St. Joseph's Basilica was taken down before it fell down.
For the time being, the rugged old cross sits just inside the doors of the church. It's normal place atop its dome is currently empty.
"It withstood the elements of nature the past 90 years, so that's pretty good," said Father George Alengadan.
But about two weeks ago, it became clear that the cross was beginning to tilt and vegan to sway from side to side in the wind.
"We weren't allowed to go like around it because they thought it might fall on us," student Chloe Allen said.
St. Joseph's is also home to an elementary, middle and high school with a total enrollment of about 700 students. That's why it became imperative to take it down.
Trevor Blok was the construction guy who went up 100 feet on a lift to take down the cross. "I was the one who just put the straps on. At that time, it seemed to have released itself and came right out," he said.
A closer inspection found dry rot at the base of the cross. That's the bad news. The good news is the very moment the cross came loose, the church bells began to ring.
Father George captured it on his cellphone. "I took it as a sign from God that God is with us. God is protecting us," he said.
So for now, the cross is out of the elements and sits where parishioners can see it as they file in. They're still deciding whether it can be repaired and put back or will need to be replaced.
"I just want it to be back up there so it looks like a normal church," Allen said.