One Catholic church in Queens built its nativity scene just in time for the holidays –- and just in time for a small miracle. On Monday, a newborn baby was left in the baby Jesus' manger.
A custodian returning from his lunch break didn’t think much at first of the cries coming from the nativity scene, which was just constructed that morning at the Holy Child Jesus Church in the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. According to Parish Secretary Paul Cerni, the custodian found the baby boy wrapped in a towel, with the umbilical cord still attached.
“The baby seemed fine,” Cerni told ABC News. “He was a fortunate child. [The mother] made the right choice.”
The newborn baby was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens. The baby, who was believed to be just four or five hours old, was listed in stable condition. The New York Police Department is investigating who the mother is and church surveillance cameras may have caught a brief image of her, police told ABC News.
New York's Safe Haven Law states that an adult with legal custody of an infant can drop the baby off at a hospital, church, police or fire station without facing legal repercussions, according to the National Safe Haven Alliance. The law also stipulates that the child is supposed to be handed off to a responsible person and not left unattended.
"God has a way of working mysteriously because I believe when this woman who came in with this child, saw this creche, 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," Father Christopher Heanue told ABC News station WABC in New York.
Parishioner Katherine Mooney, who has been attending the church for more than 30 years, told ABC News that the church’s open-door policy is what allowed the mother to bring the child to the church free of judgement.
“It’s a tragedy in the woman’s life,” she said. “But for the baby, we feel that only good things will happen now.”