Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros of Brooklyn serves as pastor of Holy Child Jesus Parishin Richmond Hill, Queens. He posted this message on Facebook late Monday:
A MIRACLE OF LIFE at Holy Child Jesus! At noon time today our sacristan heard a baby crying in the empty manger that is being readied for Christmas. When he went to investigate he found a newborn baby, umbilical cord still attached. The baby is well and healthy 5.2 pounds and 17 inches long. Pray for him and for his mother whoever she might be.
“The baby was found in the creche, a sort of manger scene where we would put the baby Jesus during Christmastime,” recalled the Rev. Christopher Heanue. “The church is considered a safe haven for dropoffs,” he explained Tuesday. “The baby was brand new. He still had the umbilical cord attached. It’s a beautiful baby boy.” The child was later taken to Jamaica Hospital, sources said. Surveillance video from Holy Child shows a woman walking inside with a baby in her arms and then shows her leaving without it. The custodian who found the child left the church for about an hour and had heard him crying when he returned, according to sources. “There are families within the parish who have inquired as to adopting the baby already,” Heanue said. “They feel that he was left in the parish and should stay in the parish.”
Additional details emerged late Tuesday in The New York Times:
Like a vast majority of states, New York has so-called safe haven laws to allow parents to anonymously leave unwanted infants, without fear of prosecution, at sites like hospitals or firehouses. Officials said that churches are included in the places covered by the law, but the parent must alert someone to the child’s presence, or leave the child in the care of someone at the location. Neither happened in this case, the police said.
Father Heanue, who grew up in nearby Maspeth and was ordained just five months ago, said the baby “seemed very healthy and was said to be in stable condition.”
…Father Heanue said the year of this week’s events, as defined by Pope Francis, was apropos.
“Pope Francis has called this a year of mercy in the church,” he said. “This is a year of mercy, and what better way to be merciful than to find a home for those in need.”
Prayer to St. Gabriel
O loving messenger of the Incarnation, descend upon all those for whom I wish peace and happiness. Spread your wings over the cradles of the new-born babes, O thou who didst announce the coming of the Infant Jesus.
Finally, recall the sublime words spoken on the day of the Annunciation– “Nothing is impossible with God,” and repeat them in hours of trial–to all I love–that their confidence in Our Lord may be reanimated, when all human help fails. Amen.