A healthy, 5.2 pound infant was discovered crying in the nativity scene of a church in Richmond Hill, Queens on Monday. Father Christopher Heanue said, "The baby was brand new. He still had the umbilical cord attached. It’s a beautiful baby boy."
A custodian, Jose Moran, at Holy Child Jesus Church found the newborn on Monday around 1 p.m. He told the Daily News, “I was in the church sweeping. Then I hear a child crying. I didn’t make much of it. I thought there was somebody in the church with a child."
But the crying continued; he said, "I looked around and didn’t see anyone. That got me curious. I followed the cries. I walked to the little nativity home we had installed inside the church ... I couldn’t believe my eyes. The baby was wrapped in towels. He still had his umbilical cord. He was next to the Virgin (Mary).”
The NY Times reports, "A woman, seen on video, had arrived with the boy wrapped in a towel, his umbilical cord still attached, and departed without him."
Churches are considered safe havens where parents may "abandon a newborn baby up to 30 days of age anonymously and without fear of prosecution -- if the baby is abandoned in a safe manner." According to NY State's Safe Haven Law, "A parent is not guilty of a crime if the infant is left with an appropriate person or in a suitable location and the parent promptly notifies an appropriate person of the infant’s location."
The police are investigating.
Father Heanue said, "God has a way of working mysteriously because I believe when this woman who came in with this child, saw this church, this empty home, this home in which we'll welcome Jesus in just a few short weeks, I believe she found in it a home for her child."
One parishioner told WABC 7, "To hear something like this totally shocked me and I've never heard anybody leaving a newborn, and I've been here for 25 years, never... I was crying just watching the news. To me, I call him baby Jesus already, so he's like a child is born, that's the way I look at it, in the manger of Holy Child Jesus Church."
Father Heanue added that many parish families have offered to adopt the baby.