A newborn baby boy was abandoned in a nativity scene at a Queens church in New York City. The boy still had his umbilical cord attached and appeared to be only a few hours old. A maintenance worker found the abandoned baby at the Holy Jesus Child Church nativity scene in the Richmond Hill neighborhood.
Queens police officers said a woman was captured on video entering the Holy Jesus Child Church with the baby boy wrapped in a towel on Monday. According to a police report, the woman left the church without the baby, the New York Times reports. Law enforcement detectives were attempting to find and speak with the woman who abandoned the baby at the nativity scene in the church on Tuesday afternoon. The woman is reportedly believed to be the newborn baby’s mother.
Church custodian Jose Moran found the baby abandoned in the nativity scene late Monday evening. Moran was arranging the empty manger in front of the church. Before he left for lunch, the animal and Biblical statues representing Mary, Joseph, and the three wise men had been placed and the manger was empty, DNA Info reports.
When the Holy Jesus Child Church custodian returned at around 1 p.m. he heard the sound of a baby crying. As Jose Moran looked around to locate the child, he found the abandoned baby in the nativity scene manger and called the police.
— Steven Bognar (@Bogs4NY) November 24, 2015
The abandoned baby was transported to the Queens Jamaica Hospital Center. Doctors at the New York City hospital revealed that the healthy infant boy appears to have been born about four to five hours before he was found in the church nativity scene.
Holy Jesus Child Church Parish Priest Rev. Christopher Ryan Heanue, 28, said he couldn’t think of any better place to leave a baby. Reverend Heanue said he viewed the actions of the mother of the abandoned baby as both sad and inspirational.
“I think it’s beautiful,” Father Heanue said. “A church is a home for those in need, and she felt, in this stable — a place where Jesus will find his home — a home for her child.”
Father Heanue said Joe Moran ran into his office and called him after finding the abandoned baby in the nativity scene and then they called 911. NYC has safe haven laws, which allow parents to anonymously leave babies at safe sites like churches, hospitals, and firehouses without fear of facing criminal charges.
Police officials said that while churches are covered by the state’s safe haven laws, the parent is legally required to alert someone that the infant is being left or leave the baby in the care of someone at the location. Those rules were reportedly not followed in the Queens church nativity scene case. The video of the woman abandoning the baby has not been released by the police department.
“Pope Francis has called this a year of mercy in the church,” the parish priest added. “This is a year of mercy and what better way to be merciful than to find a home for those in need.”
— TheJournal.ie (@thejournal_ie) November 25, 2015
The baby seemed to be in healthy and in stable condition when he was found in the nativity scene, according to Father Heanue. The Holy Jesus Child Church parish priest grew up nearby in Maspeth and was ordained just five months ago. He said that the middle-class Richmond Hill neighborhood is a true melting pot area.
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