Updated Nov. 26, 9:30 a.m.
Holy Child Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Richmond Hill was the site of a miracle at lunch time Monday, according to Rev. Christopher Ryan Heanue.
A 60-year-old male custodian placed a manger on the main stage as part of the church’s annual nativity scene and went to lunch at about 11:30 a.m. Monday morning, but when he came back around 1:10 p.m., he heard a baby crying. The custodian discovered the boy ― who still had an umbilical cord attached and was swaddled in towels― in the manger, NYPD said. Heanue, the church’s administrator, said that the scene is usually not set up this time of year.
“The creche was constructed earlier than usual, which is part of the miracle of this story,” Heanue told The Courier on Tuesday. “It wasn’t supposed to be set up yet.” The creche is set up during Advent, the spiritual season that begins four weeks before Christmas; according to tradition, the manger in the creche is left empty until Christmas Day, when a likeness of the baby Jesus is placed.
Church staff called 911 right away, Heanue said, and the baby was transported to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition. The pastoral staff gave the child several nicknames, including “baby Jesus” and “John the Baptist,” a prophet who announced Jesus’ arrival to the world.
Heanue said that a couple at the church would like to adopt the baby and make him a part of the community.
“There’s a couple in the parish that would love to even adopt this child and they believe as I believe that this baby was left here as a gift to our parish, as a gift to our church,” Heanue said. “And how beautiful it would be if this child were to remain in our community?”
According to the NYPD, the case is still under investigation and authorities are looking for the baby’s mother.
On Wednesday night, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that charges would not be filed against the mother.
“The mother followed the spirit of New York’s ‘Safe Haven’ Law which allows a parent to leave a child 30 days or younger with an appropriate person or in a suitable location where the parent promptly notifies an appropriate person of the child’s location,” Brown said in a statement. “It appears that the mother, in this case, felt her newborn child would be found safely in the church and chose to place the baby in the manger because it was the warmest place in the church, and further she returned the following morning to make certain that the baby had been found.”