An Alameda County Court judge issued an arrest warrant for a former priest at St. Joseph Basilica after he failed to appear for his arraignment on July 20.
Varghese Alengadan, 67, was charged on July 15 with one count of misdemeanor sexual battery for allegedly inappropriately touching an adult woman on July 24, 2019, according to court documents. His arraignment was scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland before Judge Colin Bowen, but Alengadan, known as “Father George,” never appeared. Bowen issued the warrant soon after.
After the original St. Joseph Basilica of the 1870s burned, the current facility replaced it in 1920. This year then marks the 100th anniversary of the present-day basilica at 1109 Chestnut St. As part of its centennial celebration, the basilica hosted a tour led by art historian Dr. Frank DeStefano of Connecticut. DeStefano conducted an informal walking tour of its historic stained-glass windows last Sunday.
On April 13, Alameda’s oldest Catholic congregation removed the cross from the bell tower where it sat since 1927. The church took down the cross and restored it after powerful windstorms caused the congregation to be concerned for the 90-year-old cross’s welfare. This morning at 8:45 a.m., the church will hold a ceremony to reinstall the refurbished cross at 1109 Chestnut St.
Fr. George Alengadan, Pastor of St. Joseph Basilica, will unveil and bless the cross in the presence of the parish community, St. Joseph Elementary School and St. Joseph Notre Dame School.