After witnessing tragic baby abandonments, Tim Jaccard says he realized "I had to stop this insanity."
Two weeks ago, a church custodian found a newborn baby in a laundry basket at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota. The baby boy was left between the exterior and interior doors of a side entrance.
The custodian immediately alerted Cathedral Rector Father John Ubel, who called 911. Father Ubel and the custodian, Nathan Leonhardt, brought the baby to the sacristy where Father Ubel baptized him while they awaited police. Within a half hour, the infant was in an ambulance on his way to being checked out at the hospital.
Leonhardt first thought someone had left a basket of laundry on the landing at the top of the foyer steps. He heard a noise come from the basket, and thought it might be a puppy. As he moved the blanket, he saw the baby’s face; he appeared to be newborn, with his umbilical cord clamped with a binder clip.
“I was speechless,” he said. “I froze for what seemed to be 10 seconds, but it was probably more.” He picked up the baby, called Father Ubel, and said they needed to call 911. The baby was warm, but his hands and feet had a purple tinge.
The baby is now in the care of Ramsey County Child Protective Services.
“The fact that this child was left off at a Catholic church is not an insignificant detail to me,” Father Ubel said. “[…] there would be many willing Catholic couples who would welcome this child into their home.”
“They picked a good spot to drop him off,” said Leonhardt, 26. “It’s a church. We love children.”
Like many states, Minnesota allows babies to be left in safe, public places. Police stations, hospitals and churches are appropriate places under “safe haven” laws, the first of which passed in 1999 in Texas.
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