There is nothing like new life to help celebrate Thanksgiving. In that spirit, we had to share with you this marvelous story of a priest-turned-midwife who safely delivered a pair of twins while popping out to buy donuts for a marriage preparation meeting.
On a Saturday in September, Fr. Jesús Mariscal was busily preparing to meet with an engaged couple to discuss their upcoming sacrament. Being a good host, he wanted to get some snacks for the meeting. However, when he left the rectory at St. Paul Cathedral in Yakima, Washington, where he is the parochial vicar, he got a little waylaid.
According to Catholic Extension, who spoke with the priest, as he was walking past a statue of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception he spotted a homeless woman near the Virgin Mary.
Fr. Mariscal shared that the lady was in distress, shouting, “I need help! I’m having a baby!”
The priest sprung into action and called 911 when he spotted blood at the lady’s feet. With his phone on loudspeaker, he followed instructions and safely delivered a baby boy. However, there was a further surprise when the woman announced she was having another.
A twin arrival
Before he knew it, baby boy number two made an appearance, although he was still in his amniotic sac wiggling around. After struggling to break open the sac, Fr. Mariscal finally used his bare hands to get the little boy out. Yet, in a further turn of events, the baby wasn’t breathing.
He followed further instructions to get the little boy breathing and handed him over to his mother. He then ran back to the rectory to get some towels to keep the little ones warm until paramedics arrived.
While busy delivering babies Fr. Mariscal didn’t forget his priestly duties and texted the couple he was meant to meet: “I’m sorry I’m late for our appointment. I was just helping a lady deliver twins.”
The pair believed it was a prank and replied: “LOL Father. You don’t have to lie.”
What is God’s message?
When the mother and twins were taken to hospital it was determined that the babies had arrived 10 weeks early. However, the mom and her sons were all doing well when the priest paid them a visit.
Unfortunately the new mother left the hospital not long after being admitted so there is no further information about their progress. Yet, for Fr. Mariscal, whose own mother sadly died this year, the event was particularly moving:
It was a surreal experience. It was like something from a movie. I was there holding a baby with my bloody hands, and the baby was all bloody as well, and I’m dressed in clerics. And I’m a priest in front of the shrine of Our Lady. And I was thinking, ‘What is God trying to tell me? What are you trying to tell me God? What is this about?’”
The next day, during Mass, Fr. Mariscal shared the story of the homeless woman with his parishioners, and how the arrival of her children could be compared to that of Jesus who was delivered far from home in a manger.
He went on to share how precious life is, and the role of the Church and its community to help those who cannot fend for themselves:
The twins and the woman are the protagonists of God’s love. They and people like them on the peripheries of our own communities are the ones God is calling us to embrace with our service and love for our neighbors.”